Our perspectives in 2015

30 Dec 2015 by Karen Cirillo, Web Editor and Margaret Egbula, Web Editor

woman and child in Viet NamSung Thi My, 18, hopes that, unlike her, all her children will have the opportunity to go to school, to get better jobs, and to have a life she could only dream about. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam
With a new global agreement on climate change and the launch of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs), 2015 has been a momentous year. Throughout it all, UNDP bloggers have helped to put it all into perspective. This year, UNDP’s blog featured its highest number of posts (208) from more than 150 different authors. From regional policy experts to organizational leaders to country-level programme advisors, these writers shared diverse perspectives of UNDP’s work. Here are some of the highlights. Those who risk everything to find safety deserve a sense of security We’ve read a lot about refugees and migrants this year, but we don’t hear as much about the living situations of refugees and migrants.  Living in unstable and insecure environments and lacking access to basic justice can have a significant effect on their well-being, protection, and rights.  Alejandro Alvarez, who works in Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights, speaks powerfully about what this actually means for those who have left their homes. An AIDS-free generation was simply unimaginable We produced a series of blog posts about the MDGs, with writers reflecting on their experiences both conceptually and related to specific goals or achievements. Kazuyuki Uji, a policy specialist in … Read more

Financing development through better domestic resource mobilization

22 Dec 2015 by Gail Hurley, specialist on Development Finance and Nergis Gülasan, specialist on Strategic Policy

women in VanuatuSevere extreme weather events in Small Island Developing States can result in heavy relief and reconstruction costs. Photo: UNDP in Vanuatu
Over the last 15 years, developing countries have increased domestic revenues by on average 14% annually. The domestic revenues of developing economies amounted to USD 7.7 trillion in 2012; that’s USD 6 trillion more than in 2000. Domestic resources are the largest, most important and most stable source of finance for development. Can we expect these resources to keep on increasing in the coming years and mobilise them for development? This was one of the core issues discussed at the UN’s conference on Financing for Development, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2015. There, governments committed to enhancing revenue collection, making tax systems fairer, more transparent and effective, and strengthening development aid for building the capacities of tax administrations. But while there has been considerable progress, important challenges remain; in the Least Developed Countries, for instance, tax revenues amount to just 13% of GDP, on average. This is about half the level in many other developing countries. There are many diverse reasons why countries may not be able to raise more domestic resources for development. These include : corruption, weak institutional capacities, a narrow tax base and pervasive tax avoidance and evasion by wealthy individuals and multinational corporations. … Read more

post paris paving the way for zero carbon growth

18 Dec 2015 by - Jo Scheuer, Director of Climate Change and DRR, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

women in mountainsIn 2016, we will build on our $2.3 billion climate portfolio across 140 countries and expand our support on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Photo: UNDP Turkey
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in light of the COP21 conference held in December. Having witnessed the international community reach (and celebrate) a global climate deal in Paris last week, I have been reflecting on the journey that brought us here, as well as picturing the long but important road ahead. First, while there has been much talk about the relative significance of the Paris agreement, I would like to echo a sentiment expressed by the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert: the deal is a success simply because the alternative was no deal at all. Business as usual is not an option, and the Paris agreement, while not perfect, is a landmark that brings together 196 parties. The bottom-up nature of the agreement is certainly a worthy first step. The global climate team I manage has worked tirelessly for well over a year with dozens of countries to help prepare their climate targets (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs) and we proudly watched as countries submitted them. These targets, as spelled out in the Paris agreement, will now be included in a global registry and serve as both roadmap and measuring … Read more

Que signifie l’Accord de Paris pour l’Afrique ?

17 Dec 2015

Deux volontaires plantent un jeune arbre dans une cour d'école à Goma, province du nord Kivu en RD Congo. Photo: MONUSCO/ Sylvain Liechti
Adopté par les délégués de plus de 90 nations à la 21ème Conférence des parties (COP 21), l’Accord de Paris est un plan d’action mondial ambitieux visant à lutter contre les changements climatiques. Mais qu’est-ce que cela signifie concrètement pour l’Afrique ? Les trois grandes réalisations peuvent se résumer ainsi : un accord équilibré et ambitieux aux fins de l’adaptation et de l’atténuation, l’accroissement du financement de la lutte contre les changements climatiques par les pays en développement et la différenciation des responsabilités, et le renforcement des capacités et le transfert des technologies. … Read more

heres to being called ms. cookstove for years to come

11 Dec 2015 by Kidanua Abera, Programme Analyst, Energy and Low Carbon Development, UNDP

Members of the Ethiopian government look at cookstove technology on a UNDP-supported experience sharing visit to India. Photo: UNDP Ethiopia
For the past few years, I’ve proudly been referred to in our office as ‘Ms. Cookstove’. I joined UNDP to work on the carbon market, specifically the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) capacity building programme for Eastern and Southern Africa. When people talk about international carbon trading, they usually talk about ‘big’ emitting industries. But in 2010, I learned about the importance of seemingly ‘small’ but equally devastating emitters such as the traditional three-stone open fire cooking method, used by the majority of rural households in Ethiopia. Three billion people across the world use this method of cooking, which not only contributes to serious health problems, but also contributes significant levels of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Although the international carbon market has collapsed, the issue of access to sustainable energy has remained a key development issue. When Ethiopia launched its Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy back in 2011, I was happy that an improved fuel-wood cookstove was identified as one of the four simple and easy solutions that could be used to reduce the country’s emissions. This is doubly important given that 81 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in rural areas, where access to clean energy remains a challenge. Studies … Read more