Overcoming bottlenecks helps speed up MDG progress

29 Sep 2015 by Babatunde Omilola, Team Leader, Development Planning and Inclusive Sustainable Growth Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS), UNDP

woman and health care workerIn Nepal, Radhika Mijay is receiving community home based care service from Trishuli Plus, which provides HIV-related health services and support. The staff visits her home monthly. Photo: GMB Akash/UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. In the early 2000s, soon after world leaders established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), I was a development researcher. I participated in many intellectual debates and discussions about the MDGs and the process of adapting them into national development plans and strategies. There were polarizing debates and heated arguments on whether or not the world should shift attention from focusing exclusively on economic growth in developing countries to human development and broader development outcomes. Through global meetings, it became clear to the international community that developing countries should focus more in-depth on poverty reduction and overall development. The MDGs have had tremendous impact when interconnected factors are addressed together. Such factors include livelihoods, food security, health, education, equality, and access to basic infrastructure and services. Today, the world has witnessed significant progress in achieving many of the MDGs. The poverty target was achieved in 2010 - five years ahead of schedule - with around 700 million people lifted out of extreme poverty. Significant progress has also been recorded in primary school enrolment, access to improved sources of water, and reduction of … Read more

South-South cooperation brings strong partnerships to the new development agenda

24 Sep 2015 by Xiaojun Grace Wang, Lead Adviser, South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

South Sudanese menSouth Sudanese attend a planning workshop in Juba. UNDP supports Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to send civil servants for two-year terms in South Sudan to provide peer coaching to their counterparts. Photo: Jennifer Warren/UNDP
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”  The new sustainable development agenda recognizes the importance of partnerships to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals. This agenda presents the opportunity for a new and inclusive global partnership, of which South-South Cooperation (SSC) forms an integral part. South-South Cooperation (SSC) is the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between countries of the global South. It’s about developing countries extending helping hands to each other to tackle development challenges together. So how can SSC contribute to the achievement of sustainable development agenda? SSC can enhance the productive capacities of developing countries through fast rising trade and investment partnerships. South-South trade in goods for 2013 was valued at about US$5 trillion. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows among developing economies account for about half of world total. Promotion of trade and investment contributes to countries’ long-term economic growth and development outcomes by increasing revenues and creating jobs.  This matters in all contexts, but even more so in crisis-affected countries. To break the cycle of poverty and violence, it's about jobs and more jobs. A number of countries, including Mozambique, Ghana, … Read more

End impunity for corruption to boost resources for development

23 Sep 2015 by Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Anti-corruption protestActivists attend a rally for International Anti-Corruption Day in Bangkok. Photo: UNDP Thailand
Ending impunity was the main topic at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference that took place this month in Malaysia. Most topics discussed at the conference resonated well with the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16 on building peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Goal 16 is a victory for the anti-corruption movement as for the first time, the development agenda makes an explicit link between good governance and fighting corruption and peace, justice and inclusive development. This does not come as a surprise. There is now empirical evidence that once a critical threshold is reached, increasing levels of corruption result in increased levels of violence, impunity and insecurity. There can thus be no sustainable peace in a society plagued by endemic corruption and impunity. There can also be no sustainable peace when those who hold power, be it political, economic or criminal, can purchase their impunity. And there can be no peace, nor justice when large groups of people are discriminated against because they are unable to overcome the many illegal hurdles that prevent them from enjoying their rights.   Breaking the culture of corruption and impunity requires a comprehensive governance approach that involves, among other things, efforts to strengthen the rule of … Read more

Oceans are inextricably linked to human development – to our health, economy and wellbeing on the planet

22 Sep 2015 by Andrew Hudson, Head, Water and Ocean Goverance Programme and Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist, Post-2015 and SDGs, Rio+ Centre

OceanOceans are linked to our health, economy and wellbeing on the planet. Photo: UNDP Namibia
Oceans are inextricably linked to human development – to our health, economy and well-being on the planet. Three-fourths of our blue planet is covered by oceans, containing 97 percent of the earth’s water and representing 99 percent of the living space on earth by volume. They serve as the world’s largest source of protein for over 2.6 billion people. They are a major source of jobs, transport, energy and tourism. They regulate critical nutrient and climate cycles and they generate half of all oxygen produced on the planet. Oceans contribute around US$3 trillion to the global economy each year through fishery and aquaculture, international shipping, oil and gas extraction and coastal tourism. But despite the many benefits we derive from the oceans, they face a number of serious threats, many of which are accelerating. As much as 40 percent of the oceans are considered ‘heavily affected’ by human activities. 80 percent of fish stocks are fully or overexploited. Thousands of invasive species travel the globe on ships and wreak havoc in new environments.  Carbon dioxide emissions are causing the acidification of oceans at the fastest rate in 30 million years, threatening the survival of countless species along marine food chains. Despite the … Read more

Simplicity thy name is MDGs

22 Sep 2015 by Shakeel Ahmad, Assistant Country Director and Chief, Development Policy Unit, UNDP in Pakistan

Women weavingAt Musa Zai Union Council in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, women are trained in their areas of interest so they can earn their own income and have sustainable livelihoods. Women’s share in wage employment is the lowest in Pakistan (around 10 percent) as compared to other countries in South Asia. UNDP Pakistan
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. When Dr. Mahbub Ul Haq presented the somewhat crude Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990, he was convinced that a single number, which is easily understandable, could convince policy makers, academics and politicians that GDP per capita was not a comprehensive measure of human wellbeing. The simplicity of the framework itself and its focus on people as the real wealth of nations made HDI one of the most acclaimed social sciences’ inventions so far. Similarly, the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) as an agenda and framework, though a crude measure like HDI, was very simple and easy for a practitioner like me to communicate and convince stakeholders on its importance and relevance. Often my argument with the proponents of a high-tech development agenda was that it was better to have a realistic agenda which people could easily comprehend and relate to, than one which is idealistic, highly technical, and thus difficult to understand. The MDGs agenda was an excellent example of the kind of results framework that we always want in our project documents. The MDGs brilliantly used the lingo of results-based management. … Read more