Our Perspective

      • Why every day is a Human Rights Day!/ Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        11 Dec 2014

        66 years ago, on the 10th of December 1948, world leaders adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) which opens with “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. These are very powerful, profound, and beautiful words which guarantee to all economic, social, political, and civil rights that underpin a life free from want and fear. Since then, every 10th of December we celebrate the Declaration’s promise for dignity and justice for all, but also take the opportunity to reflect on the achievements and challenges that lay ahead. This year’s theme “Human Rights 365” conveys the point that every day is a human rights day and that each one of us at all times is entitled to the full spectrum of human rights. We also reflect on how important all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are for human dignity and wellbeing. As Nelson Mandela explained: “The right to vote, without food, shelter and health care will create the appearance of equality and justice, while actual inequality is entrenched. We do not want freedom without bread, nor do we want bread without freedom”. We at UNDP Rwanda work with the Government of Rwanda, Development Partners,  Read More

      • Innovation is Rwanda’s new currency for development/ Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        17 Nov 2014

        Rwanda, similar to many countries on the African continent, is aspiring to become a Middle-Income Country. Beyond growth, it wants to transform and diversify its economy, rapidly improve the standards of living of Rwandans, and assert internationally its economic and political clout. Innovation is necessary to achieving that objective. Because high economic growth rates over the long run can only be sustained with innovation. With diminishing returns, jobs and livelihoods will only continue to grow if more productive sectors are sought. And only innovation – understood as the application of new and existing knowledge to improve processes – can do that systematically. Rwanda is steadily moving towards its vision of becoming an information-rich and knowledge-based economy and society and an ICT hub in the region. This ambition is reflected in the Vision 2020 and its economic development and poverty reduction (the EDPRS II) and the ICT Sector Strategic Plan 2013-2018. According to the most recent Rwanda’s economic update, the ICT sector contributed more than 2% of the national GDP over the last two quarters, putting the sector’s contribution ahead of all exports combined. To further harness this trend, Rwanda embarked on an ambitious digitization agenda, which ranges from pushing a cashless  Read More

      • Has Africa’s economic growth performance passed the turning point?

        21 May 2014

        UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda, Mr. Lamin Manneh.

        IN RECENT years, analysis and discussions of Africa’s economic growth performance has tended to occupy centre stage in the various news headlines during the annual meetings of the major international development and financial institutions and organizations and it will certainly be prominent during the imminent 2014 Annual Meeting of the AfDB Group in Kigali in May 2014. A common narrative that has taken shape in all these meetings and associated reports is that Africa’s current growth episode, which started in the second half of the 1990s, has been remarkable as it has been uninterrupted for close to a decade and a half. Why this obsession with economic growth when probably we ought to be more concerned with poverty reduction and equitable distribution of the wealth of nations? The simple answer is that though in itself, economic growth does not necessarily impact positively the welfare of large sections of populations (which underpins UNDP’s Human Development Concept), it is essential for meaningful poverty reduction, if “certain conditions” are met.   The question or concern as to whether the continent’s growth performance has reached or passed the turning point is related to two considerations: the first is the sustainability of this positive growth trajectory,  Read More

      • Dignity and human rights lie at the heart of our work

        07 Apr 2014

        By: Lamin Manneh, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda Today, the world is joining Rwanda, now a thriving country, to mark the twentieth commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Sadly, the United Nations system and the world couldn’t stop the events unfolding on the ground. Worse, the United Nations could not even save many of its national staff. The consequences of failing to heed the warning signs of the genocide are forever engraved in our minds.  The United Nations and the international system are better prepared to anticipate, prevent, respond to crises and protect their staff. In addition, the world now has important mechanisms to end impunity, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, large scale human tragedies are still happening. As we speak, millions are being affected in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, for instance. This is one the reason why UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon launched the “Rights up Front” Action Plan.  In essence, the Rights up Front Action Plan seeks to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to prevent large-scale violations of human rights, particularly in conflict situations. The plan is framed by several guiding concepts: First,  Read More

      • International Day of Peace / Lamin Manneh (Op-Ed)

        21 Sep 2013

        The international community celebrated on September 21st 2013 the “International Day of Peace, 2013”, with the theme “Education for Peace”. This year’s celebrations took place against the backdrop of continuing violence in countries like Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Colombia, Egypt, Central African Republic or renewed fighting in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Philippines, which have resulted in several millions of people fleeing their homes and thousands being killed in unimaginable brutal ways. Senseless and sometimes random terrorist attacks, that are often planned to inflict maximum casualties among innocent people, also constitute a significant threat to personal and national security across the world. The latter is vividly illustrated by the one more terrorist attack that Kenya suffered recently at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, which has resulted in over 70 deaths, many of them innocent women and children. This year’s celebration of the International Day of Peace, therefore, sends a sharp reminder that the global community has to be not only aware of the necessity of peace but also the imperative for active engagement in practices and efforts for conflict prevention and peace building. In most cases, attaining durable stability or ensuring conflict prevention cannot be done passively  Read More

      • Upholding the principles of democracy | Lamin M. Manneh

        15 Sep 2013

        Today, the international community celebrates the “International of Democracy, 2013”, with the theme “Strengthening voices for Democracy”. The purpose of commemorating this day is to raise public awareness, as well as promote and uphold the principles of democracy.

        Today, the international community celebrates the “International of Democracy, 2013”, with the theme “Strengthening voices for Democracy”. The purpose of commemorating this day is to raise public awareness, as well as promote and uphold the principles of democracy.  The theme for this year aims to raise the importance of people’s voices, both expressed directly and through their elected representatives in the governance of their countries. The post-2015 consultations, indeed affirm the centrality of empowerment and participation in tackling growing inequalities, promoting social inclusion and preventing conflicts. The million voices represented in the UN’s MY World survey overwhelmingly call for open and responsive government, placing this in the top three goals they seek in a future development agenda.  On this International Day of Democracy, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urges leaders to hear, respect and respond appropriately to the voices of the people, whether expressed directly or through elected representatives: “I call on the world’s citizens to think about how they can use their voice to not only take control of their destiny, but to translate their desires and the desires of others into a better future for all”. Rwanda has made significant strides in putting in place the relevant legal framework  Read More

      • Designing a responsive National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS)/ Rajiv Ranjan (Blog)

        25 Jun 2013

        As we deliberate post 2015 agenda chalking out global development directions after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there’s a renewed interest in the availability, quality and accessibility of data and statistics for guiding policy, monitoring progress, measuring results, and supporting analysis. The recent report by the High Level Panel appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to advise on the global development plans after 2015, stresses that a ‘data revolution‘ should support the new set of global development goals to help monitor their progress. It states that, “better data and statistics will help governments track progress and make sure their decisions are evidence-based; they can also strengthen accountability. This is not just about governments. International agencies, CSOs and the private sector should be involved. A true data revolution would draw on existing and new sources of data to fully integrate statistics into decision making, promote open access to, and use of, data and ensure increased support for statistical systems.” Certainly, this is not the first time that the importance of data and statistics is expressed in the global development context. In fact, in 2000, when the MDGs were set out, the large gaps in reliable data required to monitor them, came to  Read More

      • Amplifying Rwanda’s voice in shaping the future global development agenda/ Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        21 Jun 2013

        Ordinary people from across the world are shaping the development agenda. For the first time in history, the United Nations is engaging hundreds of thousands of people around the world in shaping an important global agenda: the next generation of anti-poverty goals. The United Nations is using digital media and mobile phone technology to enable people from across the world to take part in setting the next generation of development goals. The web platforms in this global conversation, the World We Want 2015 website, where people collaboratively develop policy ideas on issues such as inequality, education and food security and the My World survey, where people vote for 6 out of 16 development priorities, are building active user-driven communities, which crowdsource development solutions for critical global challenges. In Rwanda, we are breaking new ground by using mobile phone technology to include as many individuals as possible in the debate on future global targets.  In cooperation with Tigo, , through a SMS-based citizen-reporting system, the UN is capturing the votes of thousands of people responding to the questions about the future they want. To maximise the inclusivity of the process, we are making sure that people without access to the internet and  Read More

      • UNDP brings the Social Good Summit to Rwanda to connect communities around technology and social media for social change/ Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        21 Jun 2013

        From 22-24 September 2013, UNDP will bring the Social Good Summit to Rwanda to be part of a bigger conversation about the challenges of the next generation, and how we can address them now. As part of the global community, we want to address one big question: Where are we trying to go by 2030, and how can digital tools help us get there and how to make Rwanda’s voice heard? Today’s digital landscape is extremely powerful, and when we use social media and technology for good, we can lay the foundations for global change.  The 2013 Social Good Summit will investigate how key individuals in Rwanda are already pioneering social efforts that will leave lasting impacts. We’ll talk about how organizations big and small can work together with individuals and national and world leaders to maximize their footprint. During the event, we will debate the path to a better world by 2030, using the powerful tools of technology and new media UNDP Rwanda will invite community members around  Rwanda for a meet up to connect with each other and discuss how technology and social media can positively impact the issues they care about. The event is inspired by the Social  Read More

      • Think Eat and Save / Lamin Manneh (Op-Ed)

        05 Jun 2013

        Women seller at Kimironko Market in Kigali (Photo: Elena Ganan/UNDP in Rwanda)

        The World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5th June by people across the globe. The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment. The purpose of this celebration is to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action on environmental sustainability issues. This year’s theme for the World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint. It’s focus is on the Save Food Initiative, which is a broad partnership including UNEP, FAO, and in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, which was launched last year at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The campaign seeks to add its authority and voice to the anti-food waste in order to galvanize widespread global, regional and national actions to reduce food loss and waste. This is inspired by the fact that about one third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted in the food production and consumption systems. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry, 870 million are undernourished, more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger and childhood stunting  Read More