Our Perspective

Truth-by-phone: How PNG is pitting the humble mobile phone against massive corruption


Papua New Guinea stands at one of the most decisive junctures in its development. With predicted record levels of economic growth of 20% for 2015, the country has a unique opportunity to leverage significant sustainable and equitable improvements of Human Development of the more than 7 million Papua New Guineans. However, if poor choices are made, the impact of the high growth rates will be limited, even detrimental to the development prospects of the nation. This ‘paradox of plenty’ occurred when a 20% growth rate in the early 1990s was followed by a ‘lost decade’ for the majority of the population. Despite the Government of PNG’s increased budget allocations to provincial, district and local level governments by 87% over the last two years, low implementation capacity at sub-national level has prevented the high volume of resources to translate effectively into improvements in the lives of the population. One reason for this inefficiency is corruption.  
 In 2013, government task force estimated that almost 40% of PNG’s annual budget (approx. USD 6.5 billion) was lost to corruption and mismanagement, a worrying number that seems to be confirmed by Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perception Index, and the World Bank’s Global Governance Corruption Index.... Read more

How a low-tech mobile app is changing the way Indonesia responds to disasters

Sitting between two of the world’s most active seismic plates, Indonesia is struck with over five light earthquakes on a daily basis. Photo: Wahyu Wening

Reliable real-time data on post disaster information will help ensure a well-targeted and speedy response to future disasters in Indonesia, which in turn, will save lives and money.... Read more

Bhutan continues to face the risk of glacial lake flooding

There are more than 20 glacial lakes in Bhutan alone that are considered at risk of outburst, and many more in other nations of the Himalayas. UNDP Photo

he peace of mind that the project brought to the people living in the valleys below the glacier is immeasurable, but for how much longer? There are more than 20 glacial lakes in Bhutan alone that are considered at risk of outburst, and many more in other nations of the Himalayas.... Read more

Tackling illegal money flows in Asia could bring schools, hospitals and bridges to the poorest

Globally, illicit financial flows drained roughly US$950b from the developing world in 2011 according to Global Financial Integrity. Photo: WatchSmart licensed use under CC2.0

Illicit financial flows (cross-border flows of money that are illegally earned, transferred or utilised) are depriving the poorest economies in the region from vital funds for development. And the consequences of these flows on the sustainability of some of the region’s strongest economies are still largely underestimated.... Read more

How Malaysians could literally be 'driving' the Malayan tiger back from near-extinction

The challenge was to find ways to involve Malaysian citizens in conservation efforts so that it wasn’t just about donating money or paying a green tax. UNDP Photo.

It’s called ‘the spine.’   It’s the ‘The Central Forest Spine’ in all the official paperwork of course. An appropriate mouthful for a formidable five million hectares of wildlife sanctuary that is essentially the green lung and water tower of Peninsular Malaysia. It harbours an incredible array of plant and animal species including the endangered Malayan tiger, (perhaps less than 500 left alive today) largely limited to this sanctuary. The ‘Spine’ is also the source of essential water for over 28 million people including the inhabitants of Singapore. Recognising that the country’s breakneck economic growth was coming at the terrible cost of the long-term viability of the country’s wild spaces and eco-systems, the Malaysian government decided to set up a National Conservation Trust Fund to look for ways to straddle growth with conservation. A powerful idea emerged. A new conservation masterplan would connect patches of fragmented forest across the country into one sustainable whole. Here at UNDP, we’ve been supporting the government to operationalise the masterplan that looks as far into the future as two decades.    The challenge, of course, has been to find ways to finance these efforts. The more we thought about it, the more conviction we found... Read more