Our Perspective Articles

      • Youth hold the key to Somalia’s future | Sima Bahous

        28 Sep 2012

        For decades the world has heard only bad news from Somalia. Lawlessness, famine, piracy, and conflict have shaped our global view of this small, Horn of Africa country. The recent slaying of a member of Somalia’s new parliament underscores the severity of its challenges. Beyond the headlines, though, Somalia shows tremendous promise—it is strategically located, it has a promising agricultural sector, and recent estimates show that it may have a good deal of oil as well. But a better future will be driven neither by its location nor its natural resources: It will be driven by the country’s people—and Somalia’s hopeful youth hold the key. UNDP is today releasing its Somalia Human Development Report 2012, which focuses on the enormous potential that lies in empowering Somali youth to become an engine of peace-building and development in this country of stark contrasts. Today, 73 percent of Somalis are under 30, making theirs one of the world’s youngest countries. Typically, young people in conflict or post-conflict zones are viewed as either victims or aggressors, and indeed for decades Somali youth have known more than their fair share of violence and despair. Many young Somalis have never set foot in a schoolhouse— and stillRead More

      • Confronting daunting challenges to justice & security in the Arab region | Sima Bahous, Jordan Ryan

        24 Sep 2012

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        Millions of Libyans went to the polls to vote in the country’s first free nationwide elections in nearly five decades. Photo: An elated voter casts her vote. Photo: Samia Mahgoub /UNDP

        Just over a year ago, the Arab region began to witness unprecedented change, with several countries embarking on transitions towards more democratic governance. Strengthening the rule of law is a central challenge facing these countries. Expectations of citizens for accountable security institutions, impartial justice systems and the fulfillment of human rights are higher now than ever before. Recently, we met with two officials at the forefront of dealing with this challenge: Kamal Bashar Idhan, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Libya, tasked with ensuring that justice is delivered and human rights are upheld for all Libyans; and Said Mechichi, Secretary of State for Reform in the Tunisian Ministry of Interior who leads efforts on security sector reform in the country which triggered the Arab region’s wave of change. The challenges facing these two officials and the institutions they lead are daunting. Strengthening the rule of law in transition settings is one of the most difficult aspects of change. But it is also among the most important, and we were inspired by their commitment. UNDP has worked closely with countries in the Arab region — including Libya and Tunisia — to support their democratic transitions and national-led efforts to re-establishRead More

      • The Doha Climate Round | Kishan Khoday

        18 Jul 2012

        At the end of 2012 countries will gather in Doha for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With countries having agreed last year to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the upcoming Doha gathering will see the start of work to design a successor emission reduction regime by 2015, meant to elaborate global emission reduction targets from 2020 onwards. COP18 in Doha is only the second time parties to the UNFCCC have gathered in the Arab region. The world has seen many changes since the Arab region’s first COP took place in Marrakesh, at the 7th COP in 2001. One fundamental change has been the rise of emerging economies to the center of the world economy, now a main engine of global GDP growth and a rising source of carbon emissions. The decision to hold COP18 and start the process of designing the post-2015 climate framework in Doha was controversial given its position as the world’s highest levels of per capita carbon emissions. But this could also be an opportunity to more constructively engage climate change issues with the Arab Gulf. While much attention has been placed on engaging a new constructiveRead More