Archive for October 2, 2011


October 2, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Gracious day from the Pearl of the Orient!

In this note are some updates about the regional security for Latin America. The very gladdening news is that, over the last two decades or so, the security situation in the region had dramatically improved.

Once the hub of populist and militarist tyrants, when Latin American security was ignominiously tied up to the USA’s that was for a long time the power hegemon of the Americas, the ideological-political streams and governance formations have drastically changed. The southern corridor of the Americas has turned pink politics-wise, while drug cartels serve as growing menace to national and regional security.

The Monroe Doctrine melted down, thus bringing forth greater challenges to Latin Americans to provide for their security needs. As the USA’s commitment moves on to new terrains such as supporting
governance reforms and stumping out drug cartels, institutional spaces are made available for Latin Americans to craft their own security arrangements based on emerging needs, including security related to climate change.

Below is the speech of Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP, before the participants of the regional security summit held in Mexico.

[Philippines, 29 September 2011]
Helen Clark: Meeting on Regional Security, Citizenry and Development in Mexico City, Mexico
14 September 2011
Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Meeting on Regional Security, Citizenry and Development
in Mexico City, Mexico
Wednesday 14 September, 2011 at 13.00-14.15
I am pleased to be participating in this event which forms part of UNDP´s 50th anniversary celebration of its presence here in Mexico.
Regional security, citizenry, and development are the broad, yet inter-related, themes of our discussion today.
Binding them together is democratic governance which underpins citizen security, public safety, and trust in the forces of law and order.
In the last two decades or so, Latin America’s quest for democratic governance has made great progress, with the strengthening of electoral democracy and a steady transition towards civilian and more transparent forms of governance.
These achievements followed a recent past in quite a number of Latin American countries which was characterized by the violence of repression by military or other authoritarian political regimes which limited citizens’ rights.
Since then dramatic steps have been taken in many countries to embrace the democratic project fully by reforming political institutions and upholding the rule of law.
Commitment and transition to democratic governance, however, is not enough on its own. Insecurity and inequality continue to challenge many Latin American democracies. With an average of approximately 25 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, Latin America is among the most violent regions in the world. In Central America, more than 18,000 people were victims of homicide in 2010 alone.
Insecurity is a threat to democratic governance and development progress. Societies and states are sometimes tempted to use illegal means to fight crime, and the public debate on insecurity can become unduly polarised.
The cost of dealing with insecurity is revenue diverted from investments in education, health, and other areas which are vital for human development. In El Salvador, for example, the annual total costs of violence have been estimated at a massive 10.8 per cent of GDP.
Transnational criminal organizations pose a great threat to state security institutions whose mandate is limited to the national context. More co-ordination across borders in matters of intelligence, security, and policing is needed to combat these gangs.
Effective national and local institutions are critical for fighting crime and enabling the state to protect its citizens. UNDP’s experience of working on these issues suggests that comprehensive violence reduction plans are needed, both to strengthen the relevant institutions and to support communities to create more secure environments. Efforts to reduce crime, also need to be guided by human rights principles and the rule of law.
Building resilient nations which can help prevent and reduce violence and crime falls within UNDP’s core mandate. We are currently supporting citizen security programmes and providing high level advice in this area in at least ten countries in the region. We have helped governments develop and implement comprehensive regional and national plans, promoted legal reforms and innovative approaches to managing local security, and supported reforms to justice and law enforcement institutions.
Some countries in Latin America, including Chile, Uruguay, and Colombia, have managed to decrease levels of violence or maintain low levels. Sharing the experience of how that was made possible may help inform policy approaches in other countries too.
UNDP has chosen citizen security as the theme for its next Latin American Human Development Report. The report will be co-ordinated by Mexican scholar and former public official, Dr. Rafael Fernández de Castro. Our aim is to offer a comprehensive assessment of the main challenges to citizen security, and the changes which this phenomenon has undergone in recent years. We hope that the report will contribute to enhanced human development, governance, and citizen security across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.


October 2, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

We have a very fine news coming from the UNDP news rooms about the speech of the ennobled Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP. Appearing before the China-ASEAN dialogue in Jakarta, Madam Clark posed the challenge to the emerging markets of the South to translate economic growth into poverty reduction concretion.

Economic growth is definitely important, even as we continue to use growth indices—GDP, GDP growth rate, GDP per capita, GNP—in assessing the gains and loses from our respective countries’ growth efforts. However, quantities of growth alone do not suffice to make people more prosperous and live healthy lives.

Growth must translate into more jobs, greater longevity/good health, literacy, and gender empowerment, to go by the standard yardsticks of human development. Madam Clark shared to us her insights about the subject in her speech as contained below.

[Philippines, 29 September 2011]

Helen Clark: Poverty reduction through quality of growth
14 September 2011
“Poverty Reduction through Quality of Growth”
Jakarta, Indonesia 14 September 2011
I regret that I am not able to join you in person in Jakarta, but it is my pleasure to offer brief remarks to open the 5th China-ASEAN Forum.
I thank the Governments of Indonesia and China, and the ASEAN Secretariat, for organizing this Forum. UNDP is delighted to be a co-supporter and an active participant and facilitator of regional dialogues and South-South co-operation. We very much welcome the Forum’s focus on the quality of growth and its importance for poverty reduction and development. It comes at a critical time as countries strive to accelerate progress to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
One of the lessons of our efforts to achieve the MDGs is that growth, poverty reduction, and social development are too often considered in isolation, each with its own programmes, advocates, and experts. In practice these are interconnected objectives: in pursing one, we can advance, slow, or stall progress in the other. To get all of them moving in the same direction, we need to understand and harness the connections between them.
That is what UNDP’s human development approach strives to do. It looks for ways – across the silos and sectors – to expand the opportunities and choices people need to live long, healthy and prosperous lives. The implications are as pertinent to discussions of economic growth as they are to social development or poverty reduction.
The world has experienced enormous economic progress: in the past three decades, per capita income worldwide has almost doubled. Poverty reduction, particularly in Asia, has been similarly impressive. The absolute number of poor people living on $1.25 a day in Asia declined from 1.7 billion in 1981 to 933 million in 2005.
Yet, there is no automatic link between economic growth and poverty reduction. Even in the fastest growing economies, economic benefits have not been consistently translated into poverty reduction. Recent studies also show that in the past two decades the poverty-reducing impact of economic growth has slowed, especially in Asia.
Asia’s dynamic economic performance has benefited many hundreds of millions of people, but it has also brought challenges–including those of inequality, environmental destruction, and geographic, ethnic, and gender disparities.
To overcome such challenges and advance human development, the quality of growth matters. That was a major finding of a review conducted for last year’s UNDP Human Development Report. In examining forty years of human development progress around the world, the review found dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable growth to be a key success factor in advancing human development. To take this lesson forward, UNDP works with its government partners to design policies and interventions which can advance growth which is both inclusive and sustainable.
Through inclusive growth, countries expand the number of people who participate productively in the economy as well as the number who benefit from its growth. To promote inclusive growth, should stimulate the sectors where the poor work, generate employment and expand infrastructure in the areas where the poor live, and increase access to safe water, sanitation, and reliable energy.Services also need to reach remote areas and be made available to those who are often excluded, including women, the disabled, ethnic, and linguistic minorities.
Sustainable growth increases countries’ resilience to external shocks and protects development gains. Social protection systems are an important investment in sustainability, as they shield the most vulnerable from the worst effects of economic and other shocks and setbacks. Environmental protection is also critical. Depleted or polluted natural resources, increasingly volatile weather patterns, and more frequent natural disasters can impede development progress and even cause reversals, particularly for the poorest people. That is why the leadership of Indonesia, for example, on preserving forests and promoting sustainable development through initiatives such as REDD+ is so important.
The global economic crisis has also demonstrated how regional co-operation and integration can help countries withstand external shocks. In this regard, I commend the China-ASEAN Forum. Your partnership has contributed to the peace, stability, and prosperity of your region and the world. Member states represented here today are now focused on taking steps to improve the quality of growth in their countries and for their region.
UNDP looks forward to working with you all to take forward your individual country initiatives and to implement the outcomes of this Forum. I wish you success in using this platform to deepen your co-operation and to learn from the many rich experiences which each of you has to share.
Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.


October 2, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Climate change is a reality that many peoples across the globe are now well aware of. Even the children in developing countries or DCs have picked up on the discourse concerning climate change and ecological disasters, a discourse that they can hopefully bring home and enable their own families to respond to.

Climate change mitigations require enormous logistics. The research & development phase already demands enormous fiscal and institutional support. On the practice side, the financing of climate change all the more demands gargantuan levels of logistics taken as an aggregation of the efforts of all 200+ countries.

Guides to climate change financing interventions are surely most welcome, such as the latest one reported by the United Nations. The guideline report is hereby posted for your perusal.

[Philippines, 29 September 2011]
New guide to help developing countries speed up access to climate finance
14 September 2011
New York —The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a guidebook aimed at helping decision makers in developing countries to better take advantage of the billions pledged to address climate change.
“Blending Climate Finance through National Climate Funds,”is based on UNDP’s experience in setting up, managing and advising 750 funds and providing services for over US$5 billion in contributions pooled from multiple donors.
A step-by-step guide on setting up national climate funds, the publication is a key resource for policymakers, economists, investors and donors involved in national responses to climate change.
“We’re giving governments a recipe on how to access more funding and how to improve management of climate change activities,” said Olav Kjorven, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Development Policy. “This guidebook can fundamentally change the way governments plan, finance and deliver on their climate policies.”
More than 50 international public funds, 45 carbon markets and more than 6,000 private equity funds provide billions of dollars for national-level climate change actions. Between 2009 and 2010, clean energy sector investments worldwide grew 30 percent to a record US$243 billion.
However, only about one tenth of these investments went outside of countries that are members of the G20 grouping to areas of the world highly vulnerable to shifts in climate patterns, such as the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
Challenges for developing countries seeking to take climate finance actions include collection of funds from hundreds of sources, coordinating activities funded by them and accounting for results.
While a national climate fund with clearly defined objectives, resources, standards, and monitoring and reporting would help meet these challenges, responsibility for climate finance and planning in many developing countries governments is often spread among multiple ministries.
“Through national climate funds, countries can access more financing and accelerate their response to climate change,” said Olav Kjorven. “This can be a major contribution to setting the world on a cleaner, more equitable and sustainable path.”
Examples of successful national climate funds in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Indonesia and other countries are highlighted in the guidebook. The guidebook is part of a series of practical manuals, guidebooks and toolkits intended to support countries to transition toward green, low-emission and climate-resilient development available at
Learn more about national climate funds in the guidebook: Blending Climate Finance through National Climate Funds: A Guidebook for the Design and Establishment of National Funds to Achieve Climate Change Priorities
Contact Information
Stanislav Saling
+1 212 906 5296
Related Publications
• Blending Climate Finance Through National Climate Funds
• Catalyzing Climate Finance
View all Climate Change Publications