Why I can't turn a blind eye

21 Mar 2016 by Michelle Yeoh, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador

Michelle Yeoh talks about her experiences in Nepal during her induction as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. Photo: Lowthian/UNDP
When UNDP asked me to become a Goodwill Ambassador, the timing was just right. Globally, the world had just adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals. But it was also perfect timing on a personal level. I was visiting Nepal last spring when a powerful earthquake created some of the worst devastation the country has seen since the 1930s. While I had seen the devastating after-effects of disasters and humanitarian crises from the safe distance of a television screen, I hadn’t experienced such devastation and terror first hand. … Read more

What pushes young people to extremism?

18 Mar 2016 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

 Violent extremism poses the single biggest threat to Africa's steady journey to prosperity. In Kenya, a peace building and conflict resolution programme targets youth. Photo: UNDP Kenya
Last April, Mohamed, a carpenter in a fishing town along Kenya's coast, saw a photograph of Suleiman, the second of his five sons, on the evening news. The 24-year-old was among six young men declared dangerous members of al-Shabab, with a bounty on their heads. Less than a year later, Suleiman was among four al-Shabab suspects killed in a reported shootout with the police. Suleiman's father says that growing up, his son was respectful, dynamic, and refused to accept that the circumstances of his birth should condemn him to a life of poverty. The entire family saw Suleiman as their way to a better life. To meet their high expectations, Suleiman concluded he had to leave not only his town, but also Kenya. He planned to become a driver in Saudi Arabia. But to get there, he needed money to pay agents to organize his trip. … Read more

Help make the Angry Birds happy

18 Mar 2016 by Red, UN Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness

Red eating under a tree
I’m an Angry Bird, but I can’t help but be happy today. I am being designated by the United Nations Secretary-General as the Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness, which is Sunday, 20 March. It’s enough to warm my little Red heart! On this day, we are celebrating the planet that serves as our home. Everyone knows how much I love my home. Chuck, Bomb, Matilda and I won’t let any pigs hurt it. But our problems are bigger than those nasty pigs – we need to protect our home from climate change, too. … Read more

The Paris Agreement brings potential for transparency

17 Mar 2016 by Rocío Noriega, Coordinator, Anti-corruption program, UNDP Chile and Sergio García, Communications Manager, Environment and Energy, UNDP Chile

In Paris, a public registry of NDC in the first half of 2016 was created, with the mission to collect all contributions to global climate action. Photo: UNDP Guatemala
COP21 closed with the adoption the first universal agreement to combat climate change. This agreement pledges to contain global warming well below 2° C, adapt better to climate impacts, and enable a more effective flow of climate change funding to developing countries. This is truly innovative because it will commit countries to be publically accountable regarding everything they do to combat climate change at the national level. The new global climate agreement does not impose quotas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions nor concrete adaptation plans. On the contrary, it relies directly on the commitments that each country decides to make internally – intended nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This is why it is necessary to reach the set reduction target of 2° C. … Read more

Why the last 50 years are key for the next 15

16 Mar 2016 by Jessica Faieta, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

The next 15 yearsAchieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean will mean reaching out to the most disadvantaged groups, including indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, women and youth. Photo: UNDP Guatemala
Of the five decades that UNDP celebrates this year, I have lived half of them in the organization, in different roles. Our story began focusing on world poverty, on the most at-need women and men in the post-colonial era, with the emergence of new, independent countries beginning to trace their own paths to prosperity. In Latin America and the Caribbean we have supported many countries in their transition to democracy, also in various national truth and justice commissions and strengthening institutional capacities. Our partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector has also been crucial to innovative public policies and job creation initiatives that have helped improve the lives of millions of people. Looking back 50 years, the concept of development has shifted. … Read more

Open Innovation Challenges find new perspectives and solutions to complex problems

09 Mar 2016 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

Students in Moldova are providing feedback on ideas developed during the EduSoft Challenge. Photo: Moldova
This week, UNDP launched a new policy. Another set of rules is usually not an occasion to celebrate. But this one is, because it mirrors what innovation can look like. UNDP tackles the toughest development challenges in the world. And we’re committed to finding the best-fit solutions to those challenges. Sometimes the best ideas come from outside our walls. The new policy formally makes “Open Innovation Challenges” a part of UNDP’s procurement rules, so offices can find and fund great solutions from any source. An Open Innovation Challenge is a structured process to find new solutions. Broadly it goes like this: identify a development problem, create and publicize an Open Innovation Challenge with prizes for solving that problem, get the most capable participants to compete, and offer the reward to the winner. Such an Open Challenge can also help to reveal more about the problem itself. … Read more

A legacy of private sector engagement for sustainable development

07 Mar 2016 by Marcos Neto, Director, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development

people around a tableFor 50 years, UNDP has worked with the private sector to create jobs, establish value chains and build infrastructure. Photo: BUTGEM
As the engine of growth in most developing and developed countries, the private sector contributes to poverty reduction indirectly by creating aggregate income and wealth, and directly by generating employment and providing affordable goods and services. For 50 years, UNDP has worked with the private sector and in collaboration with national governments, to create jobs, establish value chains, build infrastructure and forge public policy and regulation that advance both national goals and the global development agenda. … Read more

Transforming local communities amidst conflict

03 Mar 2016 by Hanne Kristoffersen, Crises Governance Specialist, UNDP

woman being interviewdLocal woman, of a family of six, is interviewed at the market place in Rutshuru, North Kivu. Photo: UNDP DRCongo
I’ve visited Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo several times over the last seven years. During this time, two violent conflicts took place between rebels and the Congolese state, with the citizens caught in between. The recurrent fighting for control of the mineral rich and fertile soils of Eastern Congo has uprooted and traumatized whole communities, leaving the local economy in ruins and people poor and powerless. Most valuable are cassiterite and coltan, used in the electronic equipment and cell phones underpinning the technological revolution. … Read more

How abnormal is normal?

01 Mar 2016 by Bakhodir Burkhanov, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Viet Nam

woman on motorbikeA woman carrys kids on her motorbikes through the street of Viet Nam. It’s a common rush-hour scene, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam
Women zip through the streets, carrying kids and groceries on their motorbikes. It’s a common rush-hour scene on the streets of Viet Nam, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Existing stereotypes in Viet Nam confine women and men to certain roles, positions and careers. According to a UNDP report on women’s leadership in Viet Nam, few women achieve senior government positions. In the civil service, women hold very few senior posts: only nine percent ministers, eight percent vice ministers, and seven percent at director-general level. … Read more

Since 1966, UNDP has worked for a more fair and prosperous world for all

23 Feb 2016 by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Park rangers in Band-e-Amir National Park, where UNDP runs projects with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Global Environment Fund’s Small Grants Programme to protect the environment and provide clean energy to local residents. Photo: Robert Few / UNDP Afghanistan
Fifty years ago, one in every three people around the world was living in poverty. It was against that backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was founded in 1966. Ever since, UNDP has been a leader in working for a more fair and prosperous world for all. We have worked with governments, civil society, the private sector, and philanthropy to empower people and build resilient nations. As UNDP begins its second half century, the numbers of people in poverty have decreased to around one in eight. UNDP is proud to have worked with many partners committed to poverty eradication. … Read more