Nepal’s road to recovery is paved with collaboration

30 Jun 2015 by Naoki Nihei, UNDP-JICA/Japan Collaboration Advisor, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

tents in NepalIn a park located in a central urban area in Kathmandu, Nepal, citizens who lost their houses are living in tents provided by international assistance. Photo: Naoki Nihei/UNDP
Looking down from a plane above Kathmandu, I was not able to clearly assess the degree of damage from the 25th April earthquake. In rural areas, most of the houses were destroyed. In Kathmandu, many whose houses were affected are living in tents outside of their homes. In late May, I travelled to Kathmandu to support Japan-UNDP cooperation to help the Government of Nepal in the reconstruction planning after the devastating earthquakes. I could see the colorful tents everywhere in the city, as we flew over it. Nepal was heavily affected by the earthquake and resulting aftershocks, bearing the loss of nearly 9,000 lives. After the earthquake, Nepal received support for emergency assistance activities from numerous countries, conducting life-saving missions and medical treatment activities. Once these activities settled down, the international society started assisting the Government of Nepal on a medium- and long-term reconstruction plan. UNDP was one of the main players for this planning exercise. In the process of post-disaster reconstruction, it is essential to first assess the degree of the damage and loss and then evaluate the financial needs for recovery and reconstruction. Based on this assessment, donors and aid agencies, as well as the affected country, can gain … Read more

Next time could be different – Towards risk-informed development finance

25 Jun 2015 by Pedro Conceicao, Director of Strategic Policy, and Alex Warren, independent consultant

State-contingent financing can help countries manage risk and deal with shocks more effectively. Photo: UNDP in Sierra Leone
In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues. History provides a stark reminder that sovereign debt crises have been and are a regular feature of international development and finance. This was captured, with a touch of irony, by Professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in their book: ‘This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly’. They argued that with every debt crisis we naively behave as if we are confronting it for the first time, and pretend that we have drawn the lessons that will save us from the next crisis. Yet, centuries of continued financial volatility and recurrent debt crises prove to the contrary. But is this the inevitable reality of international finance? Or can we think of new forms of risk-informed development finance? And can these contribute to reducing the risk of costly and socially taxing sovereign debt restructuring and defaults? The last two decades have seen growing interest in the adoption of state-contingent finance – i.e. financing modalities where debt service payments are linked to a country’s ability to pay. Informed by the 1980s sovereign debt literature (e.g. Krugman, 1988; Sachs, 1989), as well as by Robert Shiller’s work on Macro … Read more

There is no honor in barring women from voting

24 Jun 2015 by Marc-André Franche, Country Director, UNDP in Pakistan

women vote in LahorePakistani women exercise their right to vote on the Cantonment board elections in Lahore. Photo: UNDP Pakistan
On 30 May, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan went to the polls to exercise their hard-earned democratic right to choose their local leaders. But newspaper reports emerged of candidates, community elders, and religious leaders conspiring to bar women from voting.  In an earlier by-election, local media reported that out of 47,280 registered women voters, not a single woman cast her vote, following a decision by local leaders to ban women from voting. It is a depressing reminder that aspects of Pakistan’s political culture remain far removed from the democratic ideals that have characterized the struggle for democracy in this country. Pakistani women are serving in the armed forces and increasing numbers of women are joining the police; putting their lives on the line to protect their fellow citizens and serve their country. Such noble sacrifice and contribution should be a source of national pride and not diminished by those misguided few who believe their gender disqualifies them from voting. Such practices have no place in a democratic society. They should be consistently rejected and challenged by all those who subscribe to the concept of multi-party democracy and are committed to strengthening the democratic system in Pakistan. A glimmer of hope … Read more

El trabajo por la igualdad de género en Cuba desde la perspectiva de un hombre

22 Jun 2015 by Claudio Tomasi, Deputy Resident Representative, Cuba

The UNDP Gender Seal has encouraged allies to government and civil society using new measures to promote gender equality in Cuba. Photo: Carolina Azevedo/UNDP
Gender issues and concerns relating to equality and fairness involve women and men, regardless of age, skin color, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity. Men are in a position to do far more to contribute to gender equality in all walks of life, in workplaces, families, and other groups to which we belong. For those of us who lead forums in the field of development cooperation, this has to be more than a policy and institutional mandate. It must be a binding obligation that we dare not ignore and which makes us grow as people. The Gender Seal is a UNDP certification process that provides incentives for ensuring that offices and their programmes work towards equality between women and men. In Cuba, with the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, have given our support to this process.  After months of diligent effort, I had the privilege of receiving, on behalf of my UNDP colleagues in Cuba, the ultimate certification honor: the Gold Seal. How did we achieve these positive results? We carried out a strategic, self-critical and forward-looking diagnostic assessment of the “health” of the office (results, progress, challenges) and its ability to achieve benchmarks for … Read more

Helen Clark statement on Pope Francis climate change encyclical

18 Jun 2015 by John Aravosis, Manager, Online and Digital Team, UNDP

UNDP Administrator Helen ClarkBuilding resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector is a central issue in Lao PDR, where almost a third of GDP (29.9 percent) is generated through the agriculture sector, and approximately 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. Photo: Luke McPake/UNDP Laos
Pope Francis today issued an encyclical in which he called climate change a “principal challenge” for humanity. In the 184-page letter, Pope Francis noted that the poor are the most vulnerable to climate change, and the Pontiff urged that “swift action” be taken to “confront the crisis.” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the Pope’s climate message: I welcome Pope Francis' very important contribution to the climate change debate through his encyclical on the environment and the poor.   The poor and the marginalized in our societies are the ones who are the most vulnerable to climate change, and are also the ones hardest hit by its impacts. UNDP works with developing countries to avoid what Pope Francis describes as an "economy of exclusion," and strives to enable progress and growth which benefits everyone. As we look forward later this year to the creation of sustainable development goals and the expected climate change agreement, we must seize this once in a generation opportunity to chart a new course for sustainable development which benefits everyone and protects our planet. This coming September, United Nations member states will meet at the sustainable development summit, where they will adopt a series of goals … Read more

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