Afro-Brazilian women are taking to the streets. How about also taking up seats in Parliament?

27 Nov 2015 by Carolina Azevedo, Communications Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

March of Black WomenCalling for the protection of human rights, more than 20,000 women took to the streets during the March of Black Women on 18 November in Brasilia. Photo: Vinícius Carvalho/Marcha das Mulheres Negras
“The power structure [in our region] is macho, white and old,” said Creuza Oliveira, President of the National Federation of Domestic Workers of Brazil. Creuza’s speech during the ECLAC-UNDP Regional Conference on Social Development brought many ministers and country delegates – men and women – to tears. Her words give witness to the experience of African descendants, who make up around 30 per cent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout the region Afro-descendants face discrimination and experience disproportionate levels of poverty and social exclusion. Often they face multiple and intersecting forms of inequity based on other factors such as gender, religion or disability. Creuza became a domestic worker when she was only 10 in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia. Working long hours during the day and studying at night “whenever the boss allowed”, she managed to finish elementary school by age 16 and high school by 32, she told me in an interview in Lima, Peru. Black women compose 62 percent of the domestic work force in Brazil, according to official figures. More than 70 percent do not have a formal contract. Moreover, 60 percent of women who die giving birth are black. And in the last … Read more

Cooperation and sharing can help combat climate change

27 Nov 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Chinese landscapeChina has pledged RMB 20 billion (US$3.13 billion) to support other developing countries in combating climate change through South-South cooperation. Photo: UNDP China
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. Around the world, countries are working towards ways to reduce climate change. And while individual countries must take into account local contexts, it is unnecessary to always “reinvent the wheel” with each new solution.  Through the South-South cooperation (SSC), UNDP connects various stakeholders to form partnerships across the developing world for pursuing these solutions.  On climate change and environmental sustainability, UNDP delivers a portfolio of US$2.3 billion, supporting over 140 countries in pursuing low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways. A central element of this work is South-South cooperation, as the majority of developing countries are critical players who have joined the middle income club, with impressive economic growth, high savings and investment rates and a larger share of trade in goods and services. Under the Canada-UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Facility, countries like Cambodia, Cape Verde, Haiti, Mali, Niger and Sudan are learning from each other’s national experiences to design and implement adaption approaches to agriculture and water management. As a result, for example, the countries now have improved climate information systems for informed decision-making and integrated planning approaches. … Read more

Surviving bad love

25 Nov 2015 by Lei Phyu, Communications & Social Media Analyst, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Combatting violence against womenOne in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of someone they know. UNDP photo
One in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of someone they know in their lifetime. Growing up, I never thought I’d become that one in three. For five years, alcoholism drove my ex-boyfriend’s worsening Jeckyll and Hyde personality. It took me four years to realize this man was abusive from the start. It took another year to get out. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This year’s theme is prevention. We as a society must do more to prevent sexual and gender-based violence so that it doesn’t take five years for fellow victims of domestic violence to free themselves from a dangerous relationship. This is why UNDP supports countries and communities working to stop and prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and to provide safety and justice to survivors. Our approach is to help expand the space available for women to participate in public and political life so that their concerns become the concerns of the entire society. We want more women in leadership roles, especially in areas like justice and security, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. UNDP works to educate and raise awareness across among all members of a … Read more

Adapting from the ground up

24 Nov 2015 by Bella Tonkonogy, Adaptation finance specialist and private sector advisor, UNDP Climate Change Adaptation team

  Farmers in Tajikistan are now growing local fruit and vegetable species that fare better in the changing climate. Photo: UNDP Tajikistan
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. Ismail Faisov tends a farm in the mountainous Dashtijum Jamoat region in Tajikistan. Dashtijum Jamoat is rich with indigenous fruits and legumes that have become naturally resilient to drought, cold weather, diseases, and other environmental stresses. For a number of reasons though, Ismail did not cultivate these traditional species, choosing instead to sell imported cultivars that did not fare well in Tajikistan’s changing climate. Consequently, Ismail struggled to support his family. The majority of people in the developing world live in poor, rural areas and rely on micro and small enterprises (MSEs) for their livelihoods. MSEs account for approximately 60 to 80 percent of the labor force in these countries. Across the world, these people are struggling to keep up with the challenges of a changing climate. In Cambodia, women farmers in the Siem Reap province face obstacles to accessing affordable water management technologies, such as solar water pumps used for irrigation, that can help them adapt to decreasing rainfall. In the Quatre Soeurs area of Mauritius, small businesses located along the coastline struggle to protect themselves … Read more

What has salt got to do with development?

23 Nov 2015 by Daniel Franks, Chief Technical Advisor and Programme Manager, ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, UNDP

Salt mine in DRHaitian workers transport salt at the Las Salinas mine, Dominican Republic. Photo: Reuters/Ricardo Rojas
Do you know where the salt that flavours your food comes from? What about the lime to set our concrete walls, the aggregate and the sand that pave our roads, the pigments that colour our paints, or the bricks that hold up our ceilings? Construction materials, dimension stones, industrial minerals and semi-precious stones are the hidden bedrock of our society, and the people that mine them in many parts of the world are often humble small-scale miners. These so-called “low value minerals” may not generate the same attention as diamonds, copper or gold, but their value lies in their potential to be minerals of development, boosting the livelihoods of millions of people. We hear a lot about their high-value cousins. We read news reports about the blood diamonds of West Africa, the conflict minerals of the Congo and thousands of miners panning for gold in the Amazon. The stories that we tell about rocks are about the fouling of rivers, the clearing of forest and the fuelling of war. Not all commodities, however, have such potential for misery. The humbleness of the low value minerals and materials sector sometimes, though not always, extends to the sector’s environmental footprint. Many of the … Read more

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