We must address political economy of growth without development in Africa

23 Oct 2015 by Jean-Luc Stalon, Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Mali

Female entrepreneurs in BurundiIn 2014, 26 % of Africans created businesses, compared with 7.4 % in Europe and 13.4 % in the US. Photo: Aude Rossignol / UNDP in Burundi
In Africa, many countries with sustained economic growth continue to display extreme levels of inequality and poverty. Access to higher education, with an overall rate of 7 % of the population, is the lowest in the world. Despite the continent being one of the biggest producers of petroleum and having huge hydropower capacity, 621 million Africans don’t have access to electricity. The risk of a child dying before completing five years of age is still highest in the world — 81 per 1,000 live birth — about seven times higher than that in Europe. Understanding the causes of this paradox is likely to dominate the next decade of policy thinking. … Read more

Making energy efficiency visible

23 Oct 2015 by Marina Olshanskaya, Regional Technical Advisor, Energy, Infrastructure, Technology and Transport, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

kids in classroomIn an Uzbekistan school, the implementation of simple energy efficiency measures increased the classroom’s temperature from 10°C to 20°C, making for a much more comfortable learning environment. Photo: UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. The buildings where we live and work are responsible for over one-third of global energy needs and a correspondingly high share of CO2 emissions. Improving the energy efficiency in buildings is one of the most cost-effective climate mitigation solutions we have: one “negawatt” of saved energy costs much less to produce than generating a new watt from conventional or even alternative energy sources. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, there is a vast number of highly inefficient buildings, and a tremendous potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction and the production of negawatts. … Read more

Back to the Future Day – 5 futuristic improvements that are not hoverboards

21 Oct 2015 by Boaz Paldi, Communications and Partnerships, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP and Simon van Woerden, Creative Communications and Partnership, UNDP

ClockWith a target date of 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and respond to climate change.
If you’ve been online at all in the past few days, you know that today is “Back to the Future” or #BTTF Day. On this very day, 21 October 2015, Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrived to the future from their own 1985. Although many of the futuristic things Marty and Doc witnessed in their version of 2015 are not here yet, the real 2015 would no doubt happily surprise the two time travelers. … Read more

How will the world we shape affect their lives?

19 Oct 2015 by Nguyen Viet Lan, Communication Analyst, UNDP in Viet Nam

Mong womanSung Thi My, 18, hopes that, unlike her, all her children will have the opportunity to go to school, to get better jobs, and to have a life she could only dream about. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam
Can an 18-year-old living in one of the world’s most remote places have a say in how the world is shaped? I met Sung Thi My during a field visit to the mountainous province of Yen Bai, where we were surveying people about the world they want in 2015 and beyond. The UN’s MY World survey is aimed at capturing people’s voices, views and priorities so world leaders can be informed, as they define the next set of global goals. … Read more

How are all countries, rich and poor, to define poverty?

16 Oct 2015 by Alessandra Casazza, Programme Advisor for MDGs/SDGs, UNDP

In Rwanda, a woman works in her tailoring shop. The World Bank recently updated the absolute poverty line to US$1.90 a day, reflecting changes in the average price of the goods and services people require in 15 developing countries, including Rwanda. Photo: Alice Kayibanda/UNDP Rwanda
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our new development compass. Its 17 goals and 169 targets provide countries – rich and poor – with the coordinates of the new ‘development north’, which more than 190 countries have committed to reach in the next 15 years. As of 1 January 2016, countries, like big vessels, will begin sailing towards this new development north from different harbors. But how will they calibrate their ‘navigation instruments’ to set their course? The 2030 Agenda is very clear in this respect. Paragraph 55 reads: ‘[…] Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each Government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances.’ As an example, let us consider Sustainable Development Goal 1: ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’. … Read more

Migrant remittances are a lifeline for families, and a force for development

15 Oct 2015 by Ben Slay, Senior Economist and Mihail Peleah, Programme Specialist in Green Economy and Employment

A worker in TajikistanRelative to GDP, remittances flowing into Tajikistan are among the largest in the world. Photo: Mashid Mohadjerin
With an influx of refugees and migrants making headlines in Europe and politicians around the world debating the merits of immigration, it’s important to take a step back and consider the development impact migration has for both sending countries and host nations. International labour migration has become a key driver of development around the world. One way migration impacts development is through the accompanying remittances, the money sent by migrant workers (and diasporas) to relatives back home. … Read more

As glacial lakes flood, the effect can be devastating

13 Oct 2015 by Rajeev Issar, Policy Specialist, Disaster & Climate Risk Governance, UNDP

glacier lakeTsho Rolpa Glacial Lake in Gaurishankar VDC, Dolakha district, Nepal. Photo: Deepak KC/UNDP Nepal
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 climate conference in December. Golf, yes. But GLOF? What is that? The increasingly apparent impacts of climate change have introduced this new term—an abbreviation for “glacial lake outburst flood”—to the world’s vocabulary. When glaciers melt, they sometimes form lakes on mountaintops. The water in these glacial lakes accumulates behind loose “dams” made of ice, sand, pebbles and ice residue. But these dams are inherently unstable and avalanches, falling boulders, earthquakes, or even simply the accumulation of too much water can unleash sudden, potentially disastrous floods in nearby communities. … Read more

MDGs: Perspectives from the Pacific Region

13 Oct 2015 by Patrick Tuimaleali’ifano, Poverty Analyst, UNDP Fiji Multi-country Office

women in FijiWomen in Korociri, Fiji participate in the Food Security and Livelihoods Development project. Fiji achieved four of the seven MDG goals, and many of the targets towards the remaining three goals. Photo: Tomoko Kashiwazaki /UNDP.
In the Pacific, progress towards achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) has been uneven. Only two Pacific countries have achieved all the MDGs targets, three countries least half, and the rest of the countries achieving less than half. The majority of Pacific countries have managed to reduce the numbers of child mortality under five years and increase the number of children accessing primary level education. However, many Pacific Countries are off track or stagnant in halving the population living under the poverty line, improving the economic and political empowerment of women, combating non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and ensuring environmental sustainability. … Read more

The road to Paris: the Macedonian case

12 Oct 2015 by Pavlina Zdraveva, Project Manager, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, UNDP in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

macedonia gridTo help clarify the aims of the INDC, we made this interactive infographic (click to access).
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. In preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, all participating countries have been asked to develop and determine their own national contributions to slowing climate change. These proposed measures are referred to as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs), and to date, 121 countries have submitted one. … Read more

It’s our shared responsibility to protect girls’ and women’s rights

11 Oct 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

A girl carries corn in Uganda.A girl takes a computer lesson in a makeshift classroom in Borghaso village, Bamiyan province, Afghanistan. The opportunities she can access will determine her chances of enjoying quality health services, education and decent employment. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan
Today, there are 250 million girls living in poverty. Gender inequality remains the most pervasive form of inequality around the world. In many parts of the world, girls suffer from inequality, discrimination and abuse, facing threats to their security, health and welfare. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes a pledge that “no one will be left behind”. To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, a specific Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is established, with gender equality as a cross-cutting theme, and UNDP is working towards making this pledge a reality. … Read more