Why prepare for disaster recovery?

08 Jun 2017 by Lucile Gingembre, Project Coordinator, Preparedness for Disaster Recovery, UNDP Africa Regional Centre

Families carry personal belonging away from flooded areas in Niamey, Niger: National actors who are trained in post-disaster needs methodology can get together, assess disaster needs and design a long-term comprehensive recovery plan for affected communities. Photo: OCHA/Franck Kuwonu.
When mega-hurricane Katrina hit the US twelve years ago, I remember staring in amazement at my TV screen. I couldn’t understand why the country seemed so unprepared to deal with the catastrophe and get back on its feet. Years later, many lessons have been drawn; the number one take away is: “Make every possible effort to reduce risk”; number two “Have a plan and be ready”. The aftermath of a disaster can be challenging with many stakeholders, competing priorities and limited financial resources. Many questions come to mind: … Read more

Pacific Small Island States trailblazing fishery management for sustainable oceans

07 Jun 2017 by Jose Padilla, Technical Advisor, Water and Oceans, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Sustainable fishing: Over the years, PSIDS have arrived at consensus among themselves placing themselves in a stronger position to institute measures that regulate fishing and at the same time generate substantial revenues from their resources. UNDP photo
In the run up to the Ocean Conference which just started, this blog series explores issues related to oceans, seas, marine resources and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life below water Two things came to my mind as I made the long flight from Bangkok to Canberra to participate in the Project Steering Committee meeting of the Pacific Oceanic Fisheries Management Project. First, how future livelihoods and sustainability of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) will be affected by global actions, and second, how the ongoing Ocean Conference presents an opportunity for the global community to create more positive outcomes for local communities. … Read more

How can we 'fix' disaster recovery?

07 Jun 2017 by Jo Scheuer, Director, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP and Francis Ghesquiere, Head of the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR), World Bank

Disaster risk reductionIt is critical that disaster-prone countries establish the necessary institutional, policy and budgetary arrangements before a disaster occurs, while also strengthening their capacity for coordination and implementation. Photo: Andrea Ruffini/UNDP
Deficient recovery is imperiling sustainable development, and leaving millions of the most vulnerable behind. The link between poverty and disasters is becoming clearer – new research shows that extreme weather events alone are pushing up to 26 million people into poverty every year. With forces like climate change, urban expansion, and population growth driving this trend, annual losses have passed more than $500 billion annually, and show no signs of slowing. With limited time and resources, however, adequate preparedness for these common events is often neglected in developing countries. The result is a pattern of deficient recovery that is imperiling sustainable development, and leaving millions of the most vulnerable behind. … Read more

Gender equality for successful national climate action

06 Jun 2017 by Verania Chao, Policy Specialist, Environment and Climate Change, Gender Team, UNDP

women working in a tea plantationWomen grow tea leaves on small plots of land they own and sell it to local tea processing units. Faced with hotter weather and more erratic rainfall, savings through reducing energy consumption helps maintain competitiveness, protect livelihoods and the environment. Photo: Shashank Jayaprasad/UNDP India
While climate change threatens livelihoods and security across the board, women and girls commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from climate change, particularly when they are living in poverty. Climate-related disasters also hit women hard, often due to restrictions on their mobility and access to information. Women’s unequal participation in decision-making and access to resources and information compound other inequalities and often prevent them from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation. That’s why it is so important to make sure that when countries determine how they are going to implement their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, gender equality concerns are considered and integrated from the very beginning. … Read more

Why we need to save our oceans now—not later

05 Jun 2017 by José Vicente Troya, Technical Advisor, Ocean and Water Governance, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean

UNDP-RBLAC-Jamaica,OldHarborBay3-2014Over 10 million residents of Small Island Developing States depend on the Pacific Ocean for survival. Photo: UNDP Jamaica
What if the blue fades away as seawaters become brown and coral reefs become white as marine grasslands wither and life below water vanishes? This is already happening at a staggering rate. It’s a lose-lose for all: people and planet. Fish stocks are declining. Around 80 percent of fishing is either collapsing or just fully exploited. The ocean is also being polluted at an alarming rate. Fertilizer run-off and 10 to 20 million metric tons of plastic debris enter the oceans each year and destroy biodiversity and ecosystems. At this rate the number of dead zones will increase, and by the year 2050 the oceans could contain more plastic than fish, measured by weight. If we don’t take action now this trend may become irreversible. Recognizing this urgency, country representatives are gathered at the Ocean Conference at the UN headquarters in New York to address marine pollution, declining fisheries, loss of coastal and marine habitat and the vanishing life below water. … Read more

The Ocean Conference: An integrated vision must be delivered

02 Jun 2017 by Jan Kellett, Advisor for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDP

Man a boatGiven the multiplicity of inter-connected vulnerabilities and risks that SIDS face, the Ocean Conference has the task of delivering a thoroughly integrated vision. Photo: UNDP
At the Ocean Conference, scheduled to take place 5-9 June in New York, nations will gather to discuss how best to deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water. This event is critical because it will, for perhaps the first time, focus on how essential our oceans are to our life and livelihoods. Even a glance at the targets and indicators of this goal make that clear: The Ocean SDG is about poverty reduction, economic development, adapting to climate change and protecting the environment, not just the health of the oceans and those who depend on it. Delivering on SDG 14 will help deliver on the other 16 goals and vice versa. … Read more

Harnessing digital technology for legal identity

01 Jun 2017 by Niall McCann, Policy Advisor, Electoral Assistance, UNDP and Lea Zoric, Policy Analyst, Gender and Elections, UNDP

Woman are more likely to lack legal identity, which can prevent them from accessing services or exercising rights, like voting. Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNDP India
An estimated 1.5 billion people in the world today lack “legal identity”, meaning they do not have access to identification documents such as birth certificates, national ID cards or passports. In short, they cannot prove who they are. Lack of legal identity often results in limited access to basic public services such as education and healthcare, but it also creates a huge obstacle to economic empowerment. People without official identification often struggle to access financial services, such as opening a bank account or obtaining financial benefits. The most affected are marginalized societal groups, such as women and children, indigenous people and ethnic, linguistic or sexual minorities. As a means to tackle this global identity gap, numerous countries, over the last 15 years, have started to introduce comprehensive national identity schemes. … Read more

Connecting the dots for life below water

31 May 2017 by Shoko Noda, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative of the Maldives

Diving reminds us how above and under water lives are inter-dependent. Photo: Shoko Noda/ UNDP
I just finished my two dives for the day and was waiting for the boat to pick us up at our surface location. It was a beautiful calm day with the water as clear as crystal, all I had to do was look down to see the small colorful fishes beneath me. While waiting, my thoughts floated back to my childhood. Growing up in Kobe, Japan, I could not jump into the ocean whenever my parents took me to the beachside, because back then the nearby sea from home was polluted with industrial waste. Many years later, I feel very lucky to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the Maldivian ocean just around the corner of my apartment. While each dive is as breathtaking as my very first one, these days, I look beyond charismatic turtles and sting rays and appreciate smaller marine creatures that play such an important role in maintaining the much needed delicate marine life balance. The so-called “cleaning stations” are a perfect example of how all the elements in the food web and the ecosystem are interconnected in a seamless harmony.” The cleaning stations are the places on the reef where special “cleaning fishes or shrimps” live. Those colorful tiny fishes play a critical role by cleaning dead skin, bacteria and parasites, which are their main food supply, off the bigger fish such as Groupers. … Read more

The food situation in Ethiopia is also of great concern

30 May 2017 by David Das Neves, South-South Cooperation and Development Effectiveness Officer, UNDP Africa

Refugees in EthiopiaFew people are aware that Ethiopia is the African country that hosts the most refugees: 730 000 have been recorded, chiefly from Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Kenya. Photo: IOM
Many people find it hard to imagine that people are still dying from hunger despite all the resources at our disposal. I joined UNDP's office in Addis Ababa after working in Geneva, where people usually do not have to worry about whether or not they will have something to eat that day. In contrast, when you live in Ethiopia, the challenges linked to food security stare you in the face, and it's impossible to ignore the crisis situation that the country is currently grappling with. However, one must be careful when using the term famine - a word with a distinct definition. At this very moment, areas of South Sudan arein a state of famine. Somalia and Nigeria are the two countries in Africa where the risk of famine is imminent. Beyond the continent, Yemen is also on the brink of famine. Though they are not among the countries facing the imminent threat of famine, many other countries are severely affected by food insecurity. The list includes Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Eritrea and Ethiopia. … Read more

Decision time? First take a look at what makes you crazy

26 May 2017 by Jacinda Fairholm, Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor, UNDP

In the Dominican Republic, UNDP created a risk analysis that improves knowledge about seismic threats and physical vulnerability of the Gran Santo Domingo area. Photo: UNDP
The most read New York Times article in 2016 was Why you will marry the wrong person. In a follow-up podcast, Author Alain de Botton outlines how the romantic ideal obstructs the clear analysis and application of time-tested criteria necessary before entering into, arguably, one of the most important decisions an individual can make. Marriage - at extreme ends both possibly rich and fruitful or miserably impoverishing - is often calculated in heady moments of euphoria and dreams. Poor decision making can have enormous emotional and financial costs, potentially spreading beyond the couple down to children and into future. He suggests that the vetting process should include one key question: “What makes you crazy?”. In other words, analyzing one’s flaws as well as considering what might be risky to the partnership or to one’s self will result in a much a better decision over the long haul. … Read more