Our Perspective

Saving our Tuna

The UNDP/Discovery Asia documentary, Saving our Tuna, points to a few of the means that are used to keep the catch in check. The aim of the film, which recently aired on Discovery Channel in Asia, is to raise awareness about the complex issues related to sustainability in our oceans.... Read more

In Viet Nam, community homesteads are the new law schools

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Vulnerable groups have among the lowest rates of access to justice services in Viet Nam. UN Photo.

In the past decade, Viet Nam has achieved impressive economic growth and human development, but it is increasingly evident that justice services have not been able to keep pace with these rapid changes.... Read more

In Bhutan, it's 'game on' for innovation

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Young monks at a Bhutan monastery. Christopher Michel licensed under CC 4.0

Why an innovation developed by UNDP and the Bhutanese government could see parents in the Himalayan country encouraging young people to spend more time gaming.... Read more

Women are key to building peace in Afghanistan

  My journey in working for peace started as a college student -- at the time of the second largest wave of Afghan refugee influx to Pakistan, post 9/11. Many other young Afghans (including me), who already lived as refugees in Pakistan stepped forward to support other Afghans, who were affected by war and now living in extremely vulnerable and volatile situation on the Pak-Afghan border. Witnessing these displaced Afghans suffering exploitation and violence, my core area of work became working for peaceful co-existence. Afghan women have been the witnesses, victims as well as actors of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. I was born in a conflict situation and raised as a refugee, where in my young age I saw suffering and misery. Women and children in particular have been the prime victims, those who escaped war to save their lives and those who stayed behind and lost their dear ones, all faced hardships and often loss of their dignity. Every society approaches issues of violence, security and peace in distinctive ways, particularly traditional communities practicing unique approaches not widely known or accessible to the outside world. This means that peace building is not a universal concept that can be applied... Read more

A sole woman at the negotiating table for peace

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Shadia Marhaban, President of the Aceh Women’s League (LINA), speaks to reporters after participating in a closed, informal (known as “Arria Formula”) meeting of the Security Council commemorating International Women’s Day, on the role of women in mediation and conflict resolution. 8 March 2012. Photo: United Nations

Dialogue, mediation and negotiation are elegant words to describe ways to resolve conflicts. I was part of such a peace process that produced an agreement to end a 30 year bloody conflict between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). That was almost ten years ago. Then and now, women are rarely seen in this peace negotiation arena, often because they are not typically part of the parties in conflict. They are also not perceived as adequately prepared for tackling "tough" issues like peace and security. Despite recent international obligations to include women in peace processes, reality has not kept pace with rhetoric. My own presence, as a lone woman among "tough" men who had been at the helm of the struggle for independence for decades was unique. As a woman, and a mother of two children, one of whom is severely autistic; I did not push to go to Helsinki for the peace talks, as it meant leaving my two small children. As fate would have it, the official negotiators were arrested on the way to the airport and sentenced to jail and exiled to the prison island of Nusakambangan off Java. By default,... Read more