Opportunity in tragedy: A reflection on the Ecuador earthquake

14 Jul 2016 by Jeannette Fernandez Castro, Recovery Specialist, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Team, UNDP

Opportunity in tragedyFor all its devastating impacts, the recent earthquake could open up opportunities for Ecuador's most vulnerable communities. Photo: Jeannette Fernandez Castro
I took this picture in Muisne, one of the most beautiful towns in Ecuador, my home country. Muisne is in the Province of Esmeraldas, in the northwest of the country and is, I feel, home to our best soccer players, the best “marimba” music, the best dancers and the best seafood. For all of its promise, however, the region is challenged by poverty and is exposed to natural hazards, vulnerabilities that hold back social and economic growth. This vulnerability was evident in April 2016 when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit this province as well as five others. … Read more

We need more women in politics - Here’s how to make quotas work

11 Jul 2016 by Tanja Hollstein, Electoral Specialist, UNDP Moldova and Victoria Ignat, Project Manager for Women in Politics, UNDP Moldova

More than 600 women attended UNDP-supported policy forums to urge Moldovan MPs to adopt the 40 percent quota for the least represented gender. Photo: UN Moldova
The low representation of women in politics remains one of the most obvious obstacles preventing us from achieving gender equality in the world. In the Republic of Moldova, a medium income country in Eastern Europe that ranks 50th in the most recent Gender Inequality Index, we want to increase the pace of change and ensure that more women are getting involved in elections as candidates, voters, and electoral staff. In a context where gender inequality is constantly dismissed as a non-issue, we had to have data to back up our claims and push for change. So we partnered with the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission and developed the first-ever national set of statistics related to the participation of women and men in elections. … Read more

Peacebuilding through parliaments

07 Jul 2016 by Nika Saeedi, Policy Specialist, Gender, Political Processes, Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS), UNDP

 Enthusiastic women parliamentarian candidates in Indonesia. Photo: UNDP
We look to our parliaments to represent us, adopt laws that protect our fundamental rights and freedoms, and distribute resources to those in need. In such ways, parliaments are uniquely positioned to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. So why is it that they are so often absent from discussions surrounding the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda and its implementation? The adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in 2000 acknowledged the inordinate impact war has on women, and the pivotal role women play in development, peace and security. Recent resolutions stressed the need for including women in peace talks, to prevent violent extremism and foster post-conflict reconstruction. We have learned that the probability of peace agreements lasting at least two years increases by 20 percent when women participate in the process. The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals recognize the links between gender equality, strong institutions, peace and security. … Read more

TICAD: The enduring relevance of a unique policy forum

05 Jul 2016 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP

Nairobi, Kenya will host the sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) from 27 to 28 August 2016.
Less than 90 days separate us from the Sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) which will be held in Nairobi on 27 and 28 August 2016. TICAD VI is expected to draw more than 6000 participants from governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector organizations. What precisely is TICAD? It was instituted in 1993 to advocate for and foster international partnerships for African development under the joint leadership of Japan, the United Nations and then Global Coalition for Africa. … Read more

Peace: An opportunity for the environment in Colombia

30 Jun 2016 by Arnaud Peral, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP Colombia

Peace will usher in an opportunity to showcase the environmental potential of the Colombian regions in addition to generating dynamic economic and social development. Photo: UNDP
Today more than ever we need to pursue an optimistic approach in the firm conviction that we will be better off with peace than with war: and this outlook applies to all areas across the board – social, economic and environmental. The armed conflict has left an immense ecological footprint and has limited the extent to which Colombia can achieve development through biodiversity. There are many examples of the conflict's direct impact on goods and services that derive from nature: the planting of landmines (Colombia evidences the second largest number of victims after Afghanistan); violent incidents in protected areas; deforestation caused by the expansion of illicit crops; the growth of illegal mining, deforestation and soil degradation, among others. … Read more

Social protection renews optimism for sustainable development

22 Jun 2016 by Romulo Paes de Sousa, Director of the UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre) and Lebogang Motlana, Director of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa

Worker at the Warrap State Hospital, South Sudan. Photo: UN/JC Mcllwaine
The media often supplements talks of the Global South with illustrations of humanitarian tragedies and persistent development bottlenecks. This traditional news coverage overlooks, however, a very positive and impactful transformation taking place in Africa and the bigger South: the impressive growth in social protection systems, the establishment of new foundations for advancing sustainable development and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Social protection programmes are among the most successful development experiences the world has seen in recent years. They have proven to be key in developing countries' efforts to fight poverty … Read more

A legacy of private sector engagement in Africa

21 Jun 2016 by Tomas Sales, Special Advisor, Private Sector & African Facility for Inclusive Markets Unit, UNDP and Pascale Bonzom, Programme Specialist, Private Sector Unit, UNDP

More than 11,000 smallholder farmers benefit from support to develop regional agro-food value chains. Photo: UNDP
In the last 12 years, UNDP in Africa has invested into innovative programmes that produced encouraging results, incentives, and insights on how the private sector can contribute to inclusive growth through inclusive businesses and markets. UNDP’s long term goal in this area is to foster Africa’s capacity to produce and grow in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 and the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNDP Growing Sustainable Business (GSB) initiative built, from 2003 to 2011, multi-stakeholder partnerships to support businesses with a clear triple bottom line capable of impacting positively on profit, people and planet. Bionexx, for instance, a company based in Madagascar, managed to grow the production of artemisinin, a key ingredient in anti-malaria pills, from 0 to 12 metric tons using an outgrower network of close to 10,000 farmers through financial support and technical assistance to set-up the outgrower scheme – a clear success in terms of providing a guaranteed higher value market to smallholder farmers and increasing their income. … Read more

Latin America and the Caribbean: Looking beyond income to build on recent progress

16 Jun 2016 by Jessica Faieta, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 25 million to 30 million people risk falling back into poverty. Photo: UNDP
The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean experienced historic economic and social transformation in recent years. This has led to a considerable reduction in poverty and inequality and to advances in closing gender, labour and education gaps. These achievements are the result of a favourable economic environment as well as proactive social inclusion policies. Despite this, 25 million to 30 million people risk falling back into poverty—a third of those who left poverty from 2003 to 2013. The most vulnerable are the newly employed, women and workers in the informal sectors of the economy. Many face social exclusion that cannot be resolved with higher income, such as discrimination due to ethnic or racial group, skin colour, sexual identity, migrant status or disability. … Read more

6 ways to innovate for 2030

16 Jun 2016 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

A community worker surveys homeless men at a shelter in Old Delhi. Innovative approaches can bring together governments, service providers and businesses to fund social programmes for vulnerable groups. Photo: Niklas Halle’n/UNDP India
Can innovation help achieve the new global development agenda? Can it help address growing humanitarian needs worldwide? The stakes are high: Last year, U.N. member states endorsed the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, and in May 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit sets out to reshape aid. Innovation in the development agenda includes new processes, new technologies, or new ways of using existing technology. No matter what the innovation, it must add value for the end user. A new technology or process that does not create a positive change in the lives of the people we work for does not qualify as innovation. … Read more

Africa’s head start on implementing the Global Goals

13 Jun 2016 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

Africa has a head start on implementing the SDGs, the set of goals that will set the parameters for the global development agenda for the next 15 years. UNDP photo
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015, at the 70th United Nations General Assembly marked the beginning of the difficult task of translating the new global agenda into action. These ambitious and transformative goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will set the parameters for the global development agenda for the next 15 years. Yet an implementation dilemma is unfolding as each region and country grapples with the challenges of rolling out a global development framework while tailoring it to respond to specific development contexts. … Read more