Stronger partnerships with foundations to take sustainable development further

27 Jul 2015 by Marcos Neto, Team Leader, Private Sector and Foundations and Karolina Mzyk, Policy Specialist, Foundations, UNDP

HC in IndonesiaA farmer in Kenya, one of four countries where UNDP is partnering with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Photo: UNDP Africa.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” This old African proverb underpins UNDP’s engagement with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda. Ghana is the fourth country – following Kenya, Colombia and Indonesia – where we are connecting local foundations with the UN, government, private sector and civil society-led policy discussions and development initiatives. The project is in collaboration with our partners the Foundation Center and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and aims to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Philanthropy has played a significant role in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress. Although foundations do not typically use the entire MDG framework to report or communicate their work, their contributions to health, education and other goals have been tremendous. Limited data on philanthropic giving and activities impedes efforts to accurately measure impact. Outside of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a few other larger foundations, we have little understanding of what the philanthropy sector is investing in and how. The Ford, MasterCard and Conrad N. Hilton foundations have recognized that philanthropy can be a major force and ally in implementing the post-2015 agenda. As leading global philanthropic … Read more

The case for a rights based development sensitive approach to drug control policy

23 Jul 2015 by Tenu Avafia, Policy Adviser, HIV, Health and Development Practice, Bureau for Development Policy and Javier Sagredo, Advisor on Democratic Governance and Citizen Security, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean

coca farmers in BoliviaMen working in the coca field in Bolivia. Photo: Ryan Anderton
The relationship between drug control policy and human development is complex and multifaceted. Both share a common objective to reduce drug-related harms. Yet drug control, human rights, public health and human development agendas often exist in isolation from each other. Policies aimed at prohibition and punishment form the international approach to drug control. Yet, there is ample evidence of the negative consequences of these policies. For the many farmers affected by poverty, conflict, and insecurity, cultivating illicit drug crops is a viable livelihoods option, yet international drug treaties ban the cultivation of these crops and require their eradication. The enforcement of these bans and eradication efforts have in many cases negatively affected the public health and human rights of people living in poverty. They have destroyed the livelihoods of those who depend on cultivating and selling drugs to survive and forcibly displaced populations from areas where illicit crops are grown. The herbicide used in aerial fumigation of illicit coca crops has been associated with physical and mental health problems. In many instances, these bans do not necessarily lead to reduced cultivation or consumption of illicit drugs, as the cultivators and traffickers simply move on to other areas. Poverty can push people … Read more

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda: A step forward on financing for development?

21 Jul 2015 by Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist on Development Finance

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) lays out the steps the international community promises to take to fund the world’s new sustainable development agenda – to be agreed in New York in September. This new document must also chart a path for how we can address the challenges which have emerged – or become more pronounced – since the 2002 Monterrey Consensus (PDF), such as climate change, accelerated environmental degradation and inequality. So did we get our ‘Monterrey Plus’ in Addis Ababa? As with all international processes, the outcome is stronger in some areas than in others. On the plus side, there is a commitment to a new ‘social compact’ in which countries commit to set up social protection systems, with national spending targets for essential services like health and education. If countries cannot funds these through domestic resources, the international community pledges to provide international assistance. Countries also agreed to work together to fund infrastructure for energy, transport, and water and sanitation, as well as step-up investments in agriculture and nutrition. There was also a commitment to establish a ‘facilitation mechanism’ to promote innovation and scientific cooperation, identify technology needs and gaps, and support capacity building on technology. The special development … Read more

We cant let the socio-economic fabric of Yemen erode further

20 Jul 2015 by Mikiko Tanaka, Country Director at UNDP in Yemen

gathering of menIn Al-Ruqeen village in Taiz, Yemen, local residents and internally-displaced people partake in a livelihoods survey to help assess the needs of the area. Taiz is one of the poorest cities in Yemen, and the influx of the displaced adds pressure to those already suffering. Photo: UNDP Yemen
Yemen is in deep crisis in so many ways – humanitarian, political, security, economic, and social. The infrastructure damage that we can see on the ground is devastating, as is the growing number of civilian casualties. However, what is not as visible but just as alarming is how the socio-economic and institutional fabric has eroded. Civil servants, private sector, civil society, and students are not able to work or study. Livelihood opportunities, economic activity, and public services in many parts of Yemen have come to a standstill since fighting began, in a country already long marked by deep poverty and inequality. Yemen’s strength is said to be its informal systems through family, regional, and community ties, and we see many Yemenis in need helping others in need. But even the strength of informal systems is eroding as assets are depleted, income sources cut, law and order collapsed, and people’s psychological strength exhausted. Communities are consumed with coping with the hard reality of the conflict, as the complexity of the crisis fragments society and exposes old and new divides. Recent events in the Arab States region have proven that when crisis becomes protracted, the negative impact on development can be devastating. UNDP … Read more

A marginalized youth: The soft underbelly of ‘Africa rising’

16 Jul 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

youth innovationYouth learn IT skills at a training centre in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone. Photo: Natsuko Kaneyama/UNDP
Africa is experiencing a period of exceptional economic performance, but impressive growth rates are not yet translating into higher human development for all. Put simply, the growth is not inclusive. A key obstacle to Africa's long-term prosperity, productivity and stability is the crisis facing the continent’s youth. Young people in Africa are economically, socially and politically marginalized. This failure to deliver for a growing and restless youth is the soft underbelly of the “Africa rising” narrative.  The lack of opportunity for many of Africa’s youth is manifested in three ways:  Unemployment: Africa’s transformative agenda is threatened by high level of unemployment, particularly among the youth. The situation is compounded by an increasing mismatch between the skills workers offer and those demanded by the labour market. This points to the fast pace of technological progress causing disruptions in the labour market, but also to education systems that produce unemployable graduates. Migration: The recent horrifying incidents of mass drowning of young Africans in the Mediterranean Sea is a vivid testimony of their loss of confidence in the ability of the continent to deliver for them. In 2000, about 13% of international migrants, 22.8 million people, originated from Africa. In 2013, the numbers had … Read more