On Wednesday, February 11, the Buffett Institute and International Program Development (IPD) co-sponsored a discussion led by Rebeca Grynspan on careers in international development.
Rebeca Grynspan is a Costa Rican economist and was formerly a UN under-secretary-general, and the associate administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). She also previously served as the director of the UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and was a member of the UN Millennium Project’s Task Force on Poverty and Economic Development.
Grynspan kicked off the event with a discussion on the Millennium Development Goals, which are eight precise targets for addressing poverty, disease, lack of primary education, gender inequality, and environmental sustainability. The United Nations created a blueprint of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 that all the countries in the world agreed to abide by and fulfill by 2015. The unique aspect of the Millennium Development Goals is that all countries that signed the agreement will be held accountable for the realization of the goals.
Grynspan said that 2015 is going to be a “key year” for the world because there has been a recent push from within countries to ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. A surge of dialogue between civil society and the government of various nations has triggered a lot of momentum and pressure from within countries to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals.
In a review of 2014, Grynspan noted that 2014 was a “disastrous year” due to excess violence and natural disasters. “Natural disasters have been drivers of poverty and the impossibility of a sustainable world,” Grynspan said.
Grynspan advised that any international goals set should link humanitarian action with long-term, sustainable development. “We need to involve countries in setting goals in order to ensure that progress still occurs when humanitarian aids leave sites,” Grynspan said.
In advising students about careers in international development, Grynspan suggested, “If you want an international career, you have to know the world and have to be passionate and believe change can happen.”