The paradox of development financing in Caribbean small islands

07 Jul 2015 by Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Trinidad and Tobago Country Office

Small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean are, for the most part, middle income countries and rank relatively high on the Human Development Index. In spite of this, they continue to experience social development challenges related to citizen security, public health, widening income gaps, retention of highly trained nationals, climate change and natural disasters. To address these challenges and advance a coherent and effective post-2015 development agenda, adequate levels of financing will be required. Yet, the possibility of accessing concessional financing is quite limited for Caribbean SIDS.  A recent study commissioned by the UNDP on Financing for Development Challenges in Caribbean SIDS, through the Country Office for Trinidad and Tobago and prepared by Prof. Compton Bourne (former President of the Caribbean Development Bank) highlights several paradoxes when it comes to the experience of Caribbean SIDS with development financing. For instance, despite the achievement of reasonable domestic savings rates by Caribbean SIDS, there is a shortage of investible resources. While foreign direct investment is an important source of development finance, this has been on the decline in many Caribbean countries since 2009. Moreover, Caribbean small states have experienced less success in accessing Official Development Aid (ODA), particularly since the onset of the … Read more

In adaptation understanding economics is priceless

06 Jul 2015 by Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head of Climate Change Adaptation Programming, UNDP and Mariana Simões Technical Specialist- Adaptation, UNDP-USAID Capacity Building Programme on the Economics of Adaptation, UNDP

farmers in CambodiaIn Ou Village, Siem Reap Province villagers are trained in planting techniques and drip irrigation installation as part of a climate-proofing agricultural practices adaptation project in Cambodia. Photo: Narith Mao/UNDP Cambodia
What is the right policy or incentive to encourage climate change adaptation? One could simply pick the one that is politically expedient and implement it. If it doesn’t work, make adjustments and try again. In many instances, this is exactly how public policy is defined, despite what is in textbooks or what best practice would suggest. Clearly, this kind of reactive approach has its limits. It doesn’t necessarily result in the most economically efficient choices being made. Understanding the economics of climate change adaptation is critical.  In a world with competing demands for limited resources, governments can ask critical questions to form the most efficient policy. For instance, what is the magnitude of climate change impact on a sector like agriculture? To what extent will households that rely on agriculture be affected? Where are these changes expected? What kinds of interventions will have the highest return in terms of social welfare improvements? Where and when should the investments be made? Adapt too soon, and the impacts may not be realized. Adapt too late and the investments are futile. The problem is that these questions, critical for policy formulation, are not well understood in developing countries, largely due to under-financing of research … Read more

Getting it right in Addis: Sustainable agriculture key to green growth and reducing poverty

02 Jul 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

palm oil in IndonesiaIndonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are plagued by bad production techniques. Photo: UNDP in Indonesia
The Financing for Development summit in Addis is a decisive point in the process towards the post-2015 development agenda. World leaders, high-level policy makers, funders and finance ministers, among others, are expected to deliver the political will, policy reforms, and financial investments required to end extreme poverty by 2030. Agriculture and nutrition is one of the four key focus areas at the summit, along with sustainable infrastructure, social protection and technology. Already at the core of much of what UNDP does every day across the globe, this reinforces agriculture as a key pillar of our poverty reduction efforts in over 170 countries. The production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, and cocoa, plays a pivotal role in global efforts to improve livelihoods across the globe. Sadly, agriculture is also the main driver of deforestation today, and is threatening to devastate the very environment upon which we depend to survive. UNDP is engaged in promoting sustainable agricultural practices to improve the lives of millions of farmers through its Green Commodities Programme (GCP). If smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, are to be lifted out of poverty, we need to improve the economic, social, and environmental performance of … Read more

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