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Powering West Mosul’s water plants

16 Aug 2017 by Hugo de Vries, Stabilization Specialist, Funding Facility for Stabilization, UNDP Iraq

Working with the Government of Iraq, UNDP is contracting local companies and workers to rebuild areas liberated from Islamic State control, including restoring the water plant that supplies half of west Mosul.
Mosul was one of the last major holdouts in Iraq of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who took control of the city in mid-2014. The military campaign to liberate the city started in October 2016 and continued for 10 months. Nearly one million civilians were evacuated during one of the largest managed evacuations in modern history. Mosul was declared fully liberated by the Prime Minister of Iraq in early July, and the difficult work of rebuilding has begun. More than 700,000 civilians are still away from their homes – waiting to restart their lives. Through its Funding Facility for Stabilization, UNDP has been implementing projects in Mosul in close proximity to the front line since late 2016. More than 300 are already under way and hundreds more are starting in coming weeks. In support of the Government of Iraq, the Facility focuses on speed and functionality and is designed to help jumpstart local economies once the fighting stops. Ninety-five percent of all stabilization initiatives are contracted through the local Iraqi private sector. This lowers costs, ensures high levels of local ownership and produces jobs in the areas where they are needed the most. In the case of … Read more

How inclusive businesses can improve lives while protecting the environment in the Philippines

14 Aug 2017 by Sahba Sobhani, UNDP Private Sector Programme Advisor and Markus Dietrich, Director, Asian Social Enterprise Incubator

Inclusive agroforestry business models can unlock significant potential to achieve positive social and environmental impacts. UNDP photo
To date, many business actors involved in poverty alleviation and environmental protection have operated in silos, largely disconnected from each other. Both sectors follow ecosystem approaches, but in poverty reduction circles, impact is seen as positive and desirable, while environmentalists see impact as negative and to be minimized. However, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now provide a common and holistic language, integrating frameworks and related policies that development and environmental protection actors can unite under. A new report from UNDP, the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development and Business Call to Action examines inclusive business models at the nexus of poverty and environment. The report focuses on three inclusive businesses that challenge our understanding of business impact by integrating social and environmental frameworks. It highlights that scaling up inclusive business models leads to both positive social and environmental impact. One example is that of smallholder farmers, whose dependence on natural ecosystems makes protecting natural resources fundamental for tackling poverty. As the global community embarks on the path to achieving the SDGs, the private sector will play a crucial role in this effort. The report takes a close look at the business models – and ecosystems – of three agroforestry … Read more

Todos los días son nuestros días

09 Aug 2017 by Myrna Cunningham Kain, President, Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples

Couple of indigenous people9 August is a date to make visible the different realities, histories and struggles of over 370 million men and women from some 5,000 indigenous peoples in the world. Photo: UNDP Peru
Cuando se acerca el 9 de agosto, como mujer indígena suelo preguntarme ¿qué significa que en el calendario haya un Día para los Pueblos Indígenas? Si el 9 de agosto es el Día de los Pueblos Indígenas, ¿los otros días de quién son? Como ocurre con buena parte de estas celebraciones, quienes estamos dentro de los pueblos, colectivos o sectores referidos a esas fechas, no podemos evitar ese cuestionamiento, ya sea el 8 de marzo como Día Internacional de la Mujer; el 1 de mayo, Día del Trabajador, o muchas otras. Pero, para una mujer indígena, todos los días son nuestros días, porque nuestra condición de mujer y de indígena son permanentes. Para las mujeres y los hombres de los pueblos indígenas, todos los días son nuestros días. El 9 de agosto es un día que trata de nosotros, pero que cobra relevancia para aquellos que aún no nos ven o no nos quieren ver y se niegan a considerarnos como pueblos con todos los derechos y potencialidades para construir un mundo mejor, justo y sostenible. Es una fecha para visibilizar las diversas realidades, historias, luchas de mas de 370 millones de mujeres y hombres de unos 5.000 pueblos indígenas en el mundo. … Read more

Collective Rights, the Global Commons, and Our Common Home

08 Aug 2017 by Maryka Paquette, Policy Analyst, Global Forests Initiative, UNDP

The Apiwtxa association uses participatory 3D mapping to demarcate Ashaninka territory and support community-based management of indigenous lands. Photo: Associação Ashaninka do Rio Amônia
This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorates the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a monumental step forward in the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ individual and collective rights. Representing 370 million people across 90 countries worldwide, indigenous peoples are communities and societies that, due to their strong dependence on natural resources, are closely rooted to earth-based traditions. Indigenous peoples’ oral histories hold generations of accumulated knowledge of the flora and fauna supported by surrounding ecosystems, as well as the principles and values that allow people to adapt and flourish. The many indigenous peoples’ communities today thrive because they respect the forces of nature and the limits to growth and development. As we begin to push planetary boundaries, we would be wise to draw on those values if humankind is to survive the catastrophic impacts of climate change now upon us. Central to the UNDRIP is the concept of indigenous peoples’ collective rights. Whereas all persons’ individual rights to life, education, health, livelihoods, freedom of religion, speech and assembly have been enshrined under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “collective rights” under the UNDRIP recognize the rights of a … Read more

Africa’s Defining Challenge

07 Aug 2017 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

By 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to more than double. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP DRC
Africa has the youngest population in the world, and it’s growing fast. By 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to be more than double the 2015 total of 226 million. Yet the continent remains stubbornly inhospitable – politically, economically, and socially – to young people. The success of African governments’ efforts to address this will be the single most important factor determining whether the continent prospers or suffers in the coming decades. A business-as-usual approach would risk exposing Africa not only to economic underperformance and a brain drain, but also to criminality, political and social unrest, and even armed conflict. But Africa can thrive if its governments act now to tap the energy and dynamism of the burgeoning youth population. What is needed is a comprehensive policy agenda, comprising demographically informed measures that address political, cultural, and economic exclusion in a synchronized manner. This will be no small feat, not least because of the massive age gap between Africa’s young majority and their leaders: the average age of an African president is 62, while the median age of Africa’s population is 19.5. That is the world’s largest age gap between governors and the governed, and it raises concerns about … Read more

Opinion: How technology is helping India move toward smart service delivery

02 Aug 2017 by Jaco Cilliers, Country Director, UNDP India

eVIN is a mobile- and cloud-based application that allows cold chain handlers to update information on vaccine stocks after every immunization session. These updates give health officials an immediate look at vaccine stocks and flows, reducing wastage. Photo:UNDP India/Prashanth Vishwanathan
An innovation being rolled out by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is making the jobs of thousands of health care workers across the country more efficient and helping to secure the future of millions of women and children. In 2015, India launched eVIN, or electronic vaccine intelligence network — a smart, easy-to-use technology aimed at digitizing vaccine stocks in the country. It’s no small ask in a nation with the largest and most ambitious immunization program in the world — aiming to immunize some 156 million women and children each year. India’s immunization program is not without its challenges. The country’s vast and diverse terrain makes reaching the poorest and most vulnerable a monumental effort. Perhaps the biggest challenge is the absence of real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, so that health officials are able to make quick and informed decisions. Recognizing the need for a smart vaccine logistics system that could ensure vaccines are available at the accurate location and time and in the required quantity, the government of India turned to technology to bridge this gap. Implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, eVIN is a mobile- and cloud-based application that allows cold chain handlers to update … Read more

Freeing space for early recovery and sustainable development: mine action and the 2030 Agenda

26 Jul 2017 by Olaf Juergensen, Development and Mine Action Specialist, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

Mine Action in Lao PDR270 million cluster sub-munitions cover most of the territory in Laos, with an estimated 20-30 percent detonation failure rate, limiting both development prospects and access to natural resources. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR
Today, more than 65 countries are reported as being affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war.  According to the Landmine and Cluster Monitor Reports, there were over 6,000 causalities in 2016 attributable to the legacies of past conflicts in countries such as Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Cambodia, and current wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.  The story of these, and many other war-torn societies, is all too present in the headlines of today; forced migrations by land and sea, people struggling to live with disabilities, crippled economies, ravaged natural landscapes, crumpled infrastructure, and social-political fabrics being torn apart.  Globally, estimates on the total size of contaminated hazardous areas is difficult to quantify because of on-going conflicts and insecurity. What is known, however, is that there remain millions of landmines and explosive remnants spread across millions of square metres of territory, rendering them dangerous and unusable. It is important to try and comprehend the enormity of the contamination. Imagine for a moment the scale and impact on the Lao PDR, which has an estimated 270 million cluster sub-munitions dropped by air more than 40 years ago, with an estimated 20-30 percent detonation failure rate, covering most of … Read more

Sustainable development and sustaining peace: Two sides of the same coin

20 Jul 2017 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and Oscar Fernández-Taranco, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support

Just emerging from decades of conflict, Colombia sees the SDGs as an integral tool in its peacebuilding process. Photo: UNDP/Freya Morales
More than 1.4 billion people, including half of the world’s extremely poor people, live in fragile and conflict-affected settings. The number is forecast to grow by a staggering 82 percent by 2030. Around 244 million people are on the move, with 65 million people in our world being forcibly displaced. You might assume that for countries in the cross hairs of these dynamics, the last thing on anyone’s mind right now is getting on track to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If you did, think again. Sustainable development is key to sustaining peace and vice versa.  Sustaining peace, a concept endorsed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, focuses on the importance of having a long-term, comprehensive vision in all responses to violent conflict, to end vicious cycles of lapse and relapse. Many countries in complex situations have embraced the SDGs as part of the solution. Afghanistan, for example, is presenting its plans at this year’s UN High-Level Political Forum, the global platform for SDG follow-up and review. At the same forum, Togo, a self-declared ‘fragile’ state, is showcasing its SDG initiatives for the second year running. And Colombia, one of the masterminds of the SDGs, considers them … Read more

Reporting progress on the 2030 Agenda: Navigating through the maze of the 17 goals

19 Jul 2017 by Eunice Kamwendo, Strategic Advisor, UNDP Africa

The goal is to help countries design an SDG implementation and reporting strategy that builds and maintains momentum, while enhancing integration and synergies between the goals on the short, medium and long term. Photo: UNDP
As countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they face competing demands. There is the desire to embrace the entire framework as a whole on one hand, and the need to be practical and focused to achieve each goal, on the other. As UNDP supports SDG reporting at the country level as well as in the global arena, part of our role is to help countries tackle this and other challenges along the way. The global, regional and country reporting that was largely adopted for the Millennium Development Goals was goal-by-goal reporting. This might have worked well with fewer goals, but it also served to reinforce the sectoral approach to development. There is a need to think through options for reporting the SDGs in ways that would enhance integration effects and synergies, as well reduce the burden of reporting on all goals at the same time without taking our eyes off the objectives of the entire agenda. The annual High Level Political Forum (HLPF) offers a model that could be instructive. Held under the theme “eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”, the 2017 HLPF was convened this week and last at the UN Headquarters. This is a … Read more

Costa Rica abre el camino hacia el fin de los plásticos de un solo uso

18 Jul 2017 by Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica , María Esther Anchía, Minister of Health, Costa Rica and Alice Shackelford, Resident Representative, UNDP Costa Rica

Plastic in the oceanIn Costa Rica, 20 percent of the 4,000 tonnes of solid waste produced daily are not collected. Photo: UNDP
Costa Rica tiene planes ambiciosos e innovadores en su trayectoria de conciliar su desarrollo económico y social con el medioambiente. Hace una década el país anunciaba que sería neutral en carbono para 2021. Ahora anuncia otra meta para los próximos cuatro años: ser el primer país del mundo con una estrategia nacional integral para eliminar los plásticos de un solo uso. Todos ganamos: Costa Rica, las personas y el planeta. Si bien el país ha sido un ejemplo para el mundo al revertir la deforestación y duplicar su cobertura forestal de un 26% en 1984 a más de un 52% este año, hoy en día un 20% de las 4.000 toneladas de residuos sólidos que se producen diariamente no se recolectan y acaban siendo parte del paisaje de ríos y playas costarricenses. … Read more