Through better giving, improving lives

16 Jul 2015 by Douglas Broderick, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Indonesia and the UNDP Resident Representative

panasonic lantern in Sumba, IndonesiaApproximately 28 million people live below the poverty line in Indonesia. Photo: Panasonic
As the fasting month of Ramadhan – a time of introspection and good works – comes to a close, it seems appropriate to reflect on the ways we can better strive to help those who need it most. Philanthropists in Indonesia have been working hard to do just that, directing essential funds toward initiatives that support education, good governance, and sustainable agriculture, among others. According to research (PDF), philanthropic support in the country totals US$53 million per month. This is a remarkable figure for a lower middle-income country where approximately 28 million people live below the poverty line. This includes a rising number of Islamic philanthropy organizations that use zakat (giving back) to improve social welfare. Dhompet Dhuafa, one of the nation’s largest independent zakat organizations, has used its donations to establish health facilities and anti-poverty programs, and its projects and those of others like it have helped millions of Indonesians. As Franciscus Welirang, one of the founders of the Association of Philanthropy Indonesia (PFI), said at a recent UNDP event: “Philanthropy is sharing our private resources for public benefit. Those private resources could be money, goods, ideas, or any sort of participation.” It is through better coordination of public and … Read more

Haiti at a turning point

16 Jul 2015 by Hervé Ladsous and Jessica Faieta

Elections 2011 in Haiti.Elections in 2011 in Haiti, where there has been significant progress in restoring confidence in the political process. Photo: UNDP Haiti
Haiti will reach a major historic milestone this summer. Starting 9 August, some six million Haitians will choose 1,280 representatives for local administrations, 140 mayors, 139 Parliamentarians and finally, their President, in several rounds of electoral processes that could last until the end of the year. It has not been easy to arrive at this moment. The Haitian people have been waiting three years for these elections. A Parliament has been absent since January. Haiti has made significant strides to restore confidence in the political process and to hold these elections on time. The electoral council, appointed in January, has been impressive in taking on several challenging technical, logistical and financial tasks aiming to ensure a credible, inclusive and transparent process. The electoral law and calendar were promulgated in March, the majority of political parties have fielded candidates, and the national police have been working to ensure a secure environment for the elections. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti known as MINUSTAH, UNDP, and other UN partners have invested significant efforts over recent years in strengthening national electoral capacities.  Much work has already been accomplished, but much more needs to be done to complete this electoral operation of such scale … Read more

A new development model to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges

15 Jul 2015 by Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Kazakhstan is becoming a donor to other countries. Photo: UNDP in Kazakhstan
As economies boom in developing countries across the world, and many of these countries graduate to Middle Income Country (MIC) status, the landscape of development is being fundamentally reshaped.  We are now witnessing a range of more nuanced and complex development situations, which call for a new approach to meeting some of the world’s toughest development challenges. How we approach those challenges following the end of the Millennium Development Goals – 8 goals that included a primary commitment to halve poverty by the end of 2015 – will define our future. So the post-2015 era represents an opportunity to frame a more ambitious and incisive development agenda. I remember my experience in Kazakhstan, where a new approach in the development relationship between the government and UNDP helped turn the country into a key partner for the organization. This strategic partnership has seen UNDP transition from a donor agency to a cost-sharing partner, and Kazakhstan becoming a donor to other countries. This model of shared partnership and joint financing, which identifies innovative and strategic ways to support national priorities, is now more relevant than ever. It has special resonance for Asia and the Pacific, as more countries in the most economically dynamic … Read more

The role of data standards in tracking financing for development

14 Jul 2015 by Robin Uyterlinde, Chair of the IATI Steering Committee

 Work is underway with South-South Cooperation providers to extend the IATI Standard to include their specific needs. Indian elections in 2014 inspired several country delegations from the Global South. Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNDP India
As the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD) kicks off in Addis Ababa, it is important to focus on how the commitments made will be tracked – at a global level, but most importantly, at country level. Throughout the FFD negotiations, a consensus has emerged on the need to mobilise all forms of development finance – public and private, domestic and international – to promote sustainable development and support the ambitious targets proposed for the post-2015 agenda. The first step in mobilising all of these resources for a common purpose is to publish information in a common way. As Chair of The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), I believe that we can do just that. IATI has developed an open data standard – the IATI Standard – which enables a wide range of organisations to publish information on their development cooperation in a common, open, electronic format. The IATI Standard can be used to publish data at the level of individual initiatives - projects and programmes, grants, loans, securities and guarantees - and it provides timely, comprehensive and forward-looking management information that meets the needs of partner countries. As a result, it is an ideal tool for publication of … Read more

Co-financing for health and development – an affordable innovation

13 Jul 2015 by Douglas Webb, Mandeep Dhaliwal, and Pedro Conceicao

school children in EthiopiaUNDP has piloted a co-financing methodology in the area of HIV, health and social protection in four sub-Saharan African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. Photo: UNDP in Ethiopia
The implementation of the post-2015 development agenda will call on countries to be more resourceful than ever, including improving efficiencies and leveraging increased domestic resources in innovative and cost-effective ways. How can innovative financing find critical synergies between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while saving money? The answer lies in investing in high-value interventions that hit multiple targets, across different sectors, at once. Because the MDGs may have unwittingly encouraged a vertical approach to development planning, and thus financing, such ‘structural’ interventions have been under-resourced and under-implemented. They were often ignored also due to lack of data demonstrating that they really work. Now we have a growing body of evidence that presents a compelling case. Successive evaluations of cash transfer programmes, for example, starting with the Zomba trial in Malawi, provide strong evidence that small monthly cash transfers not only keep girls in school, thus benefiting the education sector, but prevent unwanted teen pregnancies (an important health outcome) and reduce HIV transmission by around two thirds. Yet government ministries such as health, social welfare and education tend not to account for the multiple benefits of interventions when they evaluate programmes for cost-effectiveness. As the values of the impacts (e.g. girls remain … Read more