Winning hearts and minds in ungoverned spaces

02 Nov 2017 by Fauziya Abdi Ali, Programme Specialist, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa

Addressing grievances and frustrations becomes an entry point to winning hearts and minds and can prove a powerful asset in the fight to prevent violent extremism. Photo: UNDP
The tragic spate of attacks in Western Europe, the Sahel, and most recently in Mogadishu, Somalia, have all targeted at the very heart of capital cities and densely populated urban centers. In sub-Saharan Africa, this stands in stark contrast to the alleged attackers’ remote powerbase –the peripheral areas which often straddle several countries and are commonly referred to as ungoverned spaces. Ungoverned spaces are defined as zones that lay beyond the reaches of the central government. The prevailing view holds that the more remote they are, the more vulnerable they become to the lure of violent radicalization and extremism. So far, military action has been the default response in bringing these areas in line, as shown in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and even the Sahel. In light of recent events, one can question the wisdom and effectiveness of this approach. Far from solving the problem, it seems that securitized response exacerbates it. This is underscored in UNDP’s recent study, “Journey to Extremism in Africa:  Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment” , which indicates that 71% of the recruits of violent extremism groups interviewed joined  in retaliation against a form of government action. Until very recently, benign neglect was the standard treatment … Read more

Inclusive electoral processes: A pathway to more peaceful societies

09 Oct 2017 by Magdy Martinez-Soliman,Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and Patrick Keuleers, Director of Governance and Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Two women at a polling station placing votes in a plastic ballot box. One woman wearing a red and blue plaid coat is holding her vote in hand waiting to place it in the ballot box. A gentleman is in front of the women overseeing the voting proceduresResponding to national requests for enhanced governance capacity, UNDP has supported elections and referenda in over 100 Member States since the early 1990s. Photo:Allan Gichigi
Responding to national requests for enhanced governance capacity, UNDP has supported elections and referenda in over 100 Member States since the early 1990s. Efforts focused on developing the capacity of national electoral management bodies; promoting the political participation of those at risk of being left behind; empowering women as electoral administrators, voters and candidates; promoting electoral dialogue between parties; and supporting civic education. Such work is done in close partnership with other UN entities. Noting the inherently political nature of elections as contests between those seeking authority to govern, UNDP works with and under the guidance of the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs (nominated in 1991 by the General Assembly as UN Electoral Focal Point). The Focal Point establishes the parameters for UN engagement in a State’s national elections, in response to either a national request or a mandate from the Security Council or General Assembly to assist in post-conflict elections. … Read more

Promise Or Peril? Africa’s 830 Million Young People By 2050

12 Aug 2017 by Siddharth Chatterjee, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Kenya and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana

Many migrants use the dangerous sea route crossing between North Africa and Italy in search of a better life. © Massimo Sestini / eyevine
Last month, Spanish charity workers rescued 167 migrants arriving from Africa aboard a small boat. 2016 was the deadliest for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean, with at least 3800 deaths recorded. Most know the dangers they face on the route, yet still choose the possibility of death in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels over the hopelessness of life in areas they reside. Consider this. Every 24 hours, nearly 33,000 youth across Africa join the search for employment. About 60% will be joining the army of the unemployed. A report from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees released this month claims that seven in ten of those heading for Europe are not refugees fleeing war or persecution, but economic migrants in search of better lives. 12 August 2017, is International Youth Day. Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly and is expected to reach over 830 million by 2050. Whether this spells promise or peril depends on how the continent manages its “youth bulge”. According to the World Bank, 40% of people who join rebel movements are motivated by lack of economic opportunity. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres noted, “The frustration generated in young people that have no hope in the … Read more

Africa’s defining challenge

07 Aug 2017

By 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to more than double. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP DRC
Africa has the youngest population in the world, and it’s growing fast. By 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to be more than double the 2015 total of 226 million. Yet the continent remains stubbornly inhospitable – politically, economically, and socially – to young people. … Read more

Reporting progress on the 2030 Agenda: Navigating through the maze of the 17 goals

19 Jul 2017 by Eunice Kamwendo, Strategic Advisor, UNDP Africa

As countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they face competing demands. There is the desire to embrace the entire framework as a whole on one hand, and the need to be practical and focused to achieve each goal, on the other. As UNDP supports SDG reporting at the country level as well as in the global arena, part of our role is to help countries tackle this and other challenges along the way. The global, regional and country reporting that was largely adopted for the Millennium Development Goals was goal-by-goal reporting. This might have worked well with fewer goals, but it also served to reinforce the sectoral approach to development. There is a need to think through options for reporting the SDGs in ways that would enhance integration effects and synergies, as well reduce the burden of reporting on all goals at the same time without taking our eyes off the objectives of the entire agenda. The annual High Level Political Forum (HLPF) offers a model that could be instructive. Held under the theme “eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”, the 2017 HLPF was convened this week and last at the UN Headquarters. This is a great platform for tracking progress on … Read more

Revamped APRM is now tracking African Union Governance commitments. Should it still be voluntary?

05 Jul 2017 by David Omozuafoh, Programme Advisor, APRM and Governance Assessment, UNDP Africa

Guinea citizens line up to vote during the presidential elections. Aspiration 3 of the AU Agenda 2063 calls for an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. UNDP Photo
The APRM was set up in 2003 by African Union Member States as a voluntary tool to assess political, economic and corporate governance, and socio-economic development in countries, and ensure policy conformity. 36 of the AU’s 55 members have acceded to the APRM, and 21 have been peer-reviewed at the Head of State and Government level. … Read more