Our Perspective

      • When it is safe to speak, the whole world benefits / Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        03 May 2013

        Journalist in Rwanda (photo: Archives/UNDP in Rwanda)

        Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a cornerstone of good governance, sustainable development, and lasting peace and security. The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”, highlights the need for action to upholding the right of journalists to carry out their vital work. From traditional media platforms such as radio, print and television, to newer and more and more popular social media, blogs and citizen-led reporting, journalists are increasingly at risk. Over the past decade, more than 600 journalists have been killed – at least 120 in the past year alone. Hundreds more have been detained. In response, the United Nations system has established a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The plan aims to raise awareness and to support practical steps to create a free and safe working environment for journalists.  Action must encompass both traditional media and the digital world, where news is increasingly produced and consumed. Bloggers, citizen reporters and social media producers, as well as their sources, face increasing threats to their safety. InRead More

      • Water cooperation is key to poverty eradication, gender equality and environmental sustainability / Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        22 Mar 2013

        Decentralization and Environmental Management Project phase two - DEMPII. (Photo: Gisele Nyampinga/UNDP)

        World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The fulfilment of basic human needs, our environment, socio economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threathen the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population for food, energy, industrial and domestic uses. In designating 2013 as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation the UN recognized that cooperation is essential to deal with these challenges. Promoting water cooperation implies an inter-disciplinary approach bringing in cultural, educational, and scientific factors, as well as religious, ethical, social, political, legal institutional and economic dimensions. Here are the facts: ·       85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet. ·       783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. ·       6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases. ·       Water availability is expected to decrease in many regions. Yet future globalRead More

      • Everyone’s voice counts / Lamin Manneh (Op-ed)

        10 Dec 2012

        Every year the International Human Rights Day is observed around the world on 10thDecember. This date has been chosen to honor the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10th December 1948. When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration it was proclaimed as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations", towards which individuals and societies should "strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance". Importantly, the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights is not a binding document, but it has inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights. Today, the principles of the Universal Declaration are part and parcel of our daily lives supported by the general consent of all the United Nations member states. It is notable that the United Nations places high priority on the promotion of, and/or respect for, human rights not only for ethical and moral reasons but also because systematic denial of human rights for sections of population of any country or society could provoke conflicts and social unrests, which tend to impedeRead More