Our Perspectives

Leave no one and no city behind

By Tammam Azzam, Freedom Graffiti II

In this blog series leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on responding to conflict and disasters. The world has witnessed rapid and often unplanned urban growth. Cities are where the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost. Between now and 2030, the world’s urban population is projected to grow by 1.5 billion people. More than 90 percent of that urban growth will occur in areas located in the developing world, mostly in Africa and Asia. Urbanization and cities present opportunities for enhancing the economic prospects of countries and improving the lives of many. But rapid urbanization and rapidly expanding cities also pose challenges, especially to countries already grappling with a range of development priorities. Frequently, the urbanization process is poorly managed, resulting in inequitable, exclusionary and fragmented cities with marginalized populations. This can fuel an increased risk of violence. Conflict and violence present particularly significant challenges to cities in developing countries that are vulnerable to shocks and risks. This makes it necessary for humanitarian and development organizations to change their ways of working. “Leaving no one and no city behind” has to be a shared principle. UNDP recognizes the … Read more

Agenda 2030 : Multiplier les options de financement pour les Pays les moins avancés

Les pays les moins avancés se trouvent en grande majorité en Afrique. Photo: Aude Rossignol/ PNUD au Burundi

2015 a été une année déterminante en termes de coopération internationale pour le développement durable. L’Accord de Paris témoigne de l’engagement de la communauté internationale à faire face aux changements climatiques. L'Agenda 2030, également adopté en 2015, propose 17 Objectifs de développement durable (ODD) visant à protéger les personnes et la planète. Pour ne laisser personne de côté, et toucher avant tout ceux qui enregistrent le plus grand retard, il faut s’intéresser particulièrement à ceux qui vivent dans les Pays les moins avancés (PMA). Ce groupe de pays inclut ceux dont les niveaux de revenus par personne sont les plus bas, où les services de santé sont médiocres, le niveau d’instruction faible, et qui sont particulièrement vulnérables aux chocs économiques, aux risques sanitaires et à d’autres catastrophes.… Read more

Développement humain – la voie à suivre

The 2016 report will look into conceptual matters that were not made explicit in past reports such as the interconnectedness of choices (e.g. an individual’s choice to play loud music has an impact on the choice of quiet time by others). Photo: UNDP in DRC

Au cours du dernier quart de siècle, le Rapport sur le développement humain (RDH) a fortement influencé les débats autour du développement, apporté une fondation solide pour évaluer le bien-être humain et guidé l’élaboration de politiques publiques. Mais le monde d’aujourd’hui est différent de celui de 1990. Des progrès impressionnants ont été réalisés; cependant ces avancées ont été inégales et des privations perdurent. Comme l’affirme le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030, il est nécessaire de prendre des « mesures porteuses de transformation dans le développement » afin de ne « laisser personne de côté ». C’est pourquoi le thème de l’édition qui célébrera les 25 ans du RDH est Le développement humain - la voie à suivre.… Read more

Hope for people living with HIV in post earthquake Nepal

Binod Kumar Tamang is receiving health care service at Trishuli Plus, Nuwakot. Photo: UNDP Nepal

In this blog series leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on responding to conflict and disasters. A year ago, 20-year old Binod Kumar Tamang found out he was infected with HIV.  He lives with his mother in Nuwakot district in the central region of Nepal. When Binod tested positive for HIV, one of the hospital’s staff introduced him to Trishuli Plus, a community-based organization that also serves as a community crisis center. It was established to provide HIV-related health services, support and home-based care for people living with HIV in the district and the surrounding areas. Binod started going to the clinic for treatment and support. After the earthquake struck Nepal last April, Nuwakot district was one of the hardest hit regions. Hospitals and community care centers were among the most affected facilities and many were destroyed. The provision of health services was disrupted, leaving people in need of basic supplies and treatment. The building in which Trishuli Plus was housed collapsed. The center was forced to relocate to a tent, but resumed its business with the little it was able to salvage. While millions in Nepal were seriously impacted by … Read more

The Angry Birds wish you a happy Earth Day


Happy Earth Day to my feathered and non-feathered friends! I’m writing to you from Hong Kong. I’m here as part of my tour around the world as the United Nations Honorary Ambassador for Green. I’m talking with people about how important it is to take action on climate change. After all, by taking small actions like using public transportation or turning off your lights, we can all make a difference. And today is a big day! It’s Earth Day and the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement. Last December, over 190 countries agreed to a new global deal to tackle climate change in Paris. This launched a new era of climate action around the world. Today, leaders from over 100 countries are all gathering at the United Nations to sign the deal. There is no better way to celebrate Earth Day! We need everyone to take action. Here in Hong Kong, the country is already experiencing hotter seasons, more rain, and sea level rising. Many other parts of Asia are experiencing similar impacts and this is affecting how the region gets its food and water. Climate effects like these should make us all angry! The UN and UNDP are already helping … Read more

From signatures to action

Climate change requires a global commitment and national level action- neither is mutually exclusive.

When governments gather at the UN to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, an important step will be taken to ensure the ambition, momentum and political will of December’s COP 21. Global buy-in is essential for any international agreement to be successful, but what often receives less attention is the equal importance of concrete action at country level to advance an agreement’s objectives. This is critical for the successful implementation of any agreement, and what makes a document negotiated thousands of miles away a tangible reality and source of support to national governments around the world. The Paris Agreement affords us opportunities to scale up successes and undertake new and innovative responses to ensure that climate action also serves as a driver for long term sustainable development. UNDP has been supporting countries in climate change solutions over the past two decades, showing the importance of country level action on climate change. We have an unrivalled understanding of translating global frameworks into action in line with national development contexts. Many of UNDP’s existing country-level programs are already advancing the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Our “Boots on the Ground” program supports 26 countries to build national capacity to take forward national … Read more

Rights-based drug policies essential to achieve sustainable development goals

Coca farmers sell coca leaves at a market in Villa 14 de Septiembre village in Bolivia. Photo: Carlos Cazalis/Corbis

In many countries, a criminal record, even for a minor offense, can have serious implications. Being convicted of a crime makes you ineligible for certain jobs, social programmes or benefits or from even being able to exercise your right to vote. A criminal record can also severely limit the ability to travel to certain countries and can result in the loss of custody of minor children. As prison conditions are often poor and health care services limited, a custodial sentence can have negative impacts on the person’s health. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has identified illicit drugs and crime as a “severe impediment” to achieving sustainable development. But poorly devised drug control policies can also be harmful to people and societies. This is why UNDP works with governments to develop policies to address poverty, inequality and insecurity – the root causes of much involvement in the drug trade – and to foster human development as well as public safety. Laws criminalizing drug possession for personal use and other non-violent, low-level drug offences can end up driving a wedge between citizens and their governments. Drug users are reluctant to seek out harm reduction services, putting them at increased risk of HIV, hepatitis C, … Read more

Paris Women Now what

In Mali, a women’s collective helps enhance their resilience by strengthening food security. Photo: Imen Meliane / UNDP Mali

Coming off the heels of the climate change negotiations in Paris in December, which led to a momentous agreement for acting collectively on climate change, we have reason to feel proud and energized. Now our focus shifts to how we can support countries in implementing their climate targets or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).  This will only be possible if we tap the knowledge, foresight, engagement, and action of all segments of our societies, especially those of women. As we have seen in our work on climate change, there is a direct relationship between gender equality, women’s empowerment, and climate change. As the key household energy managers and food producers in the developing world, women are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This can exacerbate and perpetuate existing gender disparities. Once empowered as agents of change, however, we have seen women introducing clean technologies or climate-sensitive practices in their communities. Women often play a transformational role, and it is important to incorporate gender into climate action to successfully deliver climate-resilient development in the long-term. According to IUCN, 37.5 percent of the submitted INDCs explicitly mention gender or women in the context of their national priorities. The Paris Climate Change … Read more

Protecting scarce fresh water in the Maldives

A local Feneka operator stands in front of the desalinization system. Photo: Keti Chachibaia/UNDP Maldives

Water is a big deal in the Maldives. The archipelago nation of 300,000 people is more water than land. But while abundant in ocean resources, the only freshwater is rainwater that is harvested in special collection tanks. But poor rainfall leaves groundwater tables low and harvesting tanks half empty. This leaves many people and communities straining resources to buy bottled water or struggling to get by. A naturally vulnerable situation is only being exacerbated by climate change, as monsoonal cycles and associated rainfall patterns shift over the Indian Ocean. Greater variations are already occurring and the Maldivians, especially in the Northern atolls, experience longer-than-usual dry seasons. As a result, the National Disaster Management Centre is regularly called upon to deliver emergency water. Can solutions be found that utilize our current resources? A UNDP and UNOPS project, supported by the Adaptation Fund, uses Reverse Osmosis (RO) to desalinate sea water. Integrated water production and supply system plants have already been installed on the islands of Mahibadhoo, Ihavandhoo and Gadhoo. Desalination is not a new initiative of course (plants were brought to the country following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami) but the new system utilizes solar energy to cut costs (instead of diesel) … Read more

Make it your business 7steps to make your business and community better

National stakeholders receive expert training to promote sustainable development in Papua New Guinea. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea

2016 is a momentous year for change worldwide. It can be pivotal year for us to turn the tide and act on the major social, economic and environmental issues we face. As leaders in business, how can companies best contribute to positive social impact and help countries achieve development? The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be a starting point. Businesses around the world are already starting to focus on the SDGs that are most relevant to their businesses goals and embedding them in their operations. And they are finding it to be commercially beneficial. Michelin has created an innovative business model to recycle tires,   creating additional revenues and facilitating better resource use. (SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production) SAB Miller in South Africa engaged with local communities through a ‘beyond the breweries’ approach that helped the company to reduce its water usage by 23 billion liters over a few years. (SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation) TNT is partnering with the UN in Pakistan and other countries to help reduce hunger through transport, logistics, and warehousing support after earthquakes. (SDG 2: Zero Hunger) So as a business leader, where might you begin? 1. Start local Consider the core issues … Read more

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