Our Perspective

      • Human Rights Day | Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed

        10 Dec 2013

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        By Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Resident Coordinator

        First of all, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the people of Yemen following the sad events of last Thursday. Our hearts are with families and friends of victims that were robbed the most basic human right of all – the right to life. I have the whole UN family in Yemen with me joining your grief of the lost lives and the wounded. Last week also witnessed a great leader and global role model reaching the end of a fruitful and inspiring life. As we celebrate Human Rights Day this year, we remember how this leader started a global struggle that we are now left to continue. Nelson Mandela once said that: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Our freedom and our rights depend on each other; we are called to protect not only our own rights, but those of our sisters and brothers, regardless of race, religion, tribe, nationality or gender. Respect for human rights principles stands at the heart of all the work we as the UN are doing. This is not merely because it isRead More

      • Water More Important Than Oil for the Future of the Arab World | Sima Bahous

        28 Nov 2013

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        UNDP Lebanon

        Across the Arab world a consensus is emerging that the Arab peoples are facing a new transformation in their relation with the natural world.  If the last seventy years can be considered the era of oil in the Arab world, the years to come will be shaped to a much greater extent by how we make use of an even more precious resource: water. Today the Regional Bureau for Arab States of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is launching a new report on the future of water in the Arab region. Entitled the Arab Water Governance Report, the publication argues that the future will depend on whether the Arab countries can vastly improve the way water is managed. Oil and gas have allowed for significant modernization over recent decades including unprecedented improvement in human development, but continuing our progress requires us to treat our water with as much reverence as we have our energy resources – or even more. The report argues that the water challenges facing the Arab region are part-and-parcel of a much broader set of issues that are of paramount importance today.  From agricultural decline, to youth unemployment and indeed in many cases to civil unrest, mostRead More

      • Empowering youth as ‘the engine of transition’ in Yemen | Ismail Ould Cheick Ahmed

        22 Nov 2013

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        More than 73 percent of working-age youth in Yemen is jobless. Our Youth Economic Empowerment Project helps thousands of young men and women find employment and start small businesses. (Photo: UNDP in Yemen)

        Yemen is currently facing an explosive “youth bulge”: the country holds the world's record for fertility rate (5.4 children born per woman) and about a quarter of the population is aged 10 to 19, with 46 percent of them under 16.   In that context, it is hard to think of a successful transition in Yemen without the participation of the country’s youth, and their innovative contributions for the future. But Yemen’s investment in its human resources has been low — nearly 50 percent of Yemenis are illiterate in a mostly rural population of 25 million, more than 40 percent of the population is estimated to be “either hungry or on the edge of hunger", and 73.3 percent of working-age youth are jobless. A recent study assessing youth’s needs in this important phase for the country revealed that young Yemenis feel they do not get the attention they deserve and that they lack a creative environment and opportunities for scientific, cultural and technical talents.   Chronic poverty, inequity and lack of employment opportunities are also causes and triggers for conflict, internal wars and insurgencies. Young people deprived of opportunities can turn to activism or fall into despair, and the active presenceRead More