Our Perspectives

MDGs Perspectives from the Pacific Region

Women 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 this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. 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.     Climate change and NCDs are two challenges with the potential to deter progress across all goals.  Countries are already feeling the adverse impacts of climate change, which affects food security and the ability for Pacific communities to manage their natural resources. Some of the highest incidences of diabetes and obesity in the world are found in the pacific region and the major cause of premature death in nearly all Pacific Island countries is now NCDs. The poor are more vulnerable to... Read more

As glacial lakes flood the effect can be devastating

Tsho 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 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. GLOFs come up often for those of us who work on disaster and climate risk management in South Asia. They are becoming increasingly common, and can have devastating impacts on lives, livelihoods, and mountain ecosystems, as well as on critical assets and infrastructure such as roads or hospitals. Satellite imagery has shown that, due to the melting of Himalayan glaciers at the rate of 30-60 meters per decade, existing glacial lakes have been expanding while new glacial lakes are being formed at a disconcertingly fast rate. A study of the recorded incidents across... Read more

The road to Paris the Macedonian case

To 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. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted its INDC in August 2015, the 23rd country in the world to do so. This was the result of hard work and cooperation among various donors, institutions and stakeholders. The country’s INDC was based on detailed technical assessments performed by a large team of experts and on other relevant documents. The final outcome of these efforts is the country’s official commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 30 percent over the next 15 years. This is a crucial commitment because CO2 emissions from fossil fuels currently account for almost 80 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with most emissions generated by the energy supply, buildings and the transport sector. Developing the country’s INDC involved not only the... Read more

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

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. Access to basic services will advance girls’ rights, but they will only be guaranteed when girls are empowered.This means that girls everywhere should be able to access opportunities and resources, control their own lives, make decisions, and be able to contribute to the development process, nationally and internationally. The services she can or cannot access, will influence her chances to enjoy quality health services, education and decent employment. In turn, the status of women impacts the wellbeing of their communities. While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) allowed us to eliminate disparities in primary school enrolment between boys and girls in all developing regions and double women’s representation in... Read more

Long days and nights on the road to Paris

Community members planting trees with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. Photo: Jackie Curtis/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. It is 1 September and I am sitting at a table in the basement of the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, with a group of delegates from ten countries. We are discussing a proposal regarding how the crucial element of finance will be included in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We are exhausted, yet determined—this is the second to last negotiation session before countries gather in Paris for the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to agree on a new, universal deal on climate change. Finance is a key part of the deal and the decisions made at this negotiation will be a key stepping stone toward an ambitious outcome in Paris. While we work together to identify the key concepts that are critical for their positions, I am humbled by the delegates’ commitment to make progress. My first UNFCCC negotiation was in 2006, and I have provided technical and advisory services to over 100 governments and six COP Presidents.  I’ve seen the darker side of negotiations—I was there... Read more

Mirando al 2030 desde el camino de los Objetivos del Milenio

If current trends continue, the region as a whole is on track to achieve many MDG goals. Photo: Carolina Trutmann/UNDP Guatemala

En un par de días se lanza en la Asamblea General de la ONU la futura agenda de desarrollo hasta el 2030. “Podemos ser la primera generación en acabar con la pobreza”, según el Secretario General, sobre la ambiciosa agenda de desarrollo post-2015, que incluye los 17 Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS).

¿Podremos ser la generación que acabe con la pobreza extrema y al mismo tiempo reduzca las desigualdades que históricamente azotan a nuestra América Latina y el Caribe?... Read more

How can mining contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?

A worker at a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With meaningful engagement, mining companies could become partners in achieving the SDGs. UNDP Photo

The heads of 193 UN member states have now signed on to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be the shared global development framework for the coming generation. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income countries. And through partnerships with government and civil society, they can ensure that benefits of mining extend beyond the life of the mine itself, so that the mining industry has a positive impact on the natural environment, climate change, and social capital. At the same time, mining companies will be called on to extract with responsibility, produce with less waste, use safer processes, incorporate new sustainable technologies, promote the improved wellbeing of local communities, curb emissions, and improve environmental stewardship. Mining companies committed to the SDGs will benefit from improved relationships with governments and communities and better access to financial resources; those that fail to engage meaningfully with the SDGs will put their operations at risk in the short and long term. Over the last few months, the World Economic Forum, UNDP, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Columbia... Read more

Collecting stories from chaos

A Sensemaker survey taker collect data in Sana'a.

In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. The war here in Yemen has caused over 4,000 civilians deaths and 1.4 million Yemenis to be internally displaced since March. To examine the impact of this war, UNDP Yemen turned to citizens to hear their daily hardships and identify opportunities to restore livelihoods. But the survey we’re conducting is very different from traditional assessments and our respondents are interested and curious. We’re using Sensemaker, a software suite that discovers patterns among people’s stories. Because of the need to adapt programs to respond to emerging needs, it is important to understand dynamic contexts and a diversity of perspectives. This software focuses on values and people’s experiences, which is quantified quickly without the built-in prejudices some decision makers may bring to the table. Sensemaker is being conducted in partnership with the UNDP Innovation Team and Cognitive Edge across six priority governorates. So far, 200 micro-narratives have been collected in the capital city Sana’a with support from the Youth Leadership Development Foundation (YLDF). It will not be easy to access all locations as the conflict moves rapidly, but collecting these stories now, capturing the personal... Read more

At Social Good Summit, everyone has a seat at the table

Celebrities, activists and development leaders opened the 2015 Social Good Summit by introducing the 17 Global Goals. UNDP photo

Victoria Beckham was there, as was the Queen of Jordan. But the most applause that day came for a 14-year-old boy from Texas who built a clock. His name is Ahmed Mohamed, and he was a big hit at this year’s Social Good Summit in New York. The annual gathering, held in over 100 countries this year as the UN General Assembly convened, unites people from all over the world around a common purpose: using social media, innovation, and technology to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. This year’s Social Good Summit theme was “#2030NOW,” focusing on the greatest challenges facing the world over the next 15 years, with a particular emphasis on the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, which will guide development policy and funding through 2030. I attended this year’s NYC summit. While it was fun to see movie and TV-star Adrian Grenier, or actor and political activist Ashley Judd, for me the most exciting part of this year’s SGS was the attendance of so many young people. Student Ahmed Mohamed and National Geographic Society President Gary Knell present Goal 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure. UNDP photo Case in point: Chinese environmental activist, and... Read more

Ending discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is key to achieving the SDGs

Transgender activists in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil, during a mobilization campaign for civil registry change and LGBT rights. Photo: Daniel de Castro/UNDP Brazil.

The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embody a powerful commitment to achieving a life of dignity for all. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. That's why we at UNDP are pleased to join in the UN statement on ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The statement has been endorsed by 12 UN entities - UNDP, OHCHR, UNAIDS, ILO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, UN Women, UNODC, WFP and WHO. The new sustainable development agenda includes everyone, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. As noted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "the challenges faced by any become the challenges faced by each of us - sometimes gradually, but often suddenly." In short, the inclusion of LGBTI people is important so that they can contribute to and benefit from sustainable development. Without inclusive processes we will not be able to help countries to achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequality and exclusion. Both UNDP's Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and the UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 require us to place particular emphasis on those experiencing the greatest inequality and exclusion – LGBTI people are one such group. UNDP is already making contributions to LGBTI... Read more

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