La innovación, estado del arte del desarrollo

09 Jun 2015 by Stefano Pettinato, Resident Representative a.i. for Belize and El Salvador

Latin America and the Caribbean are starting to emphasize the importance of innovation as the engine for confronting development challenges. Photo: UNDP El Salvador
La creatividad impulsa nuevos conceptos e ideas, o nuevas asociaciones entre ellos, produciendo soluciones originales a problemas. La inspiración creativa es una característica típicamente asociada a los seres humanos –común entre artistas– y hasta cierto punto difícil de explicar. Por otro lado, viviendo en tiempos de Google y Wikipedia y la gratificación inmediata a través de respuestas a cualquier pregunta, la búsqueda de soluciones con creatividad e innovación endógena requieren un esfuerzo particular. … Read more

If the oceans were a country...

08 Jun 2015 by Johan Robinson, Technical Advisor for Sustainable Development, UNDP Asia Pacific

Fishermen in waters off São Tomé and PríncipeIf the ocean were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s. Photo: UNDP São Tomé and Príncipe
I recently went diving among some of the amazing coral reefs of Indonesia. Their sheer beauty is beyond description, and their value is beyond calculation. But let’s try to put it in perspective. The World Wildlife Fund recently estimated that the total asset base of the ocean is valued at US$24 trillion, and the annual “gross marine product” (GMP) – equivalent to a country’s annual gross domestic product – is at least US$2.5 trillion. To make that real, imagine that we gave every person alive in the world today US$350 every year; we’d still have a little left over from the wealth we extract from the oceans annually. If the ocean were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s. Oceans provide a substantial portion of the global population with food and livelihoods and are the means of transport of 80 percent of global trade. They absorb nearly one-third of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions, delaying and mitigating the effects of climate change. The sea also offers vast potential for renewable ‘blue energy’ production from wind, wave, tidal, thermal and biomass sources. But despite the benefits we derive from the ocean, … Read more

Working to build an inclusive and sustainable future for all

01 Jun 2015 by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Sanju Bhoi picks spinach from her floating garden in Odisha state, India.Sanju Bhoi picks spinach from her floating garden in Odisha State, India. In partnership with the Odisha government, UNDP is helping communities adapt to extreme weather events. Photo: UNDP India
For UNDP and the entire United Nations system, 2015 is a year of historic milestones. It is the 70th anniversary year for the UN— founded in 1945. It is also the year in which the 15-year quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals concludes, and a new era of global development commitments is expected to be launched with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals by world leaders in September. UNDP played a central role in devising, promoting and helping countries to achieve the MDGs, and is now working with its national partners to prepare for the SDGs. We are helping to integrate the SDGs into national development planning, and are providing data-based support for measuring progress toward the new goals, both locally and globally. The new goals are likely to include completing the unfinished business of the MDGs, with the eradication of poverty being a central objective. Despite impressive progress on poverty reduction in recent years, there are still 1 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day. We also have an obligation to protect our planet for the sake of future generations and to safeguard today’s hard-won development gains. In December, climate change COP21 in Paris is scheduled to … Read more

How can agro-commodity traders contribute to the SDGs

29 May 2015 by Andrew Bovarnick, Global Head of the Green Commodities Programme, Sustainable Development Cluster, UNDP

cocoa podsGhana’s cocoa is produced by thousands of smallholder farmers, spread over six of the country’s 10 regions. Photo: COCOBOD
With the global population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050, we face a dual challenge: ensuring the continued production of agricultural commodities, such as soy, palm oil, cattle, coffee and cocoa, without destroying the planet’s natural resources that humanity depends on to survive. Agricultural commodities are the bedrock of a number of rural developing economies, contributing to vital economic growth and the ongoing fight against poverty. As such, they play a critical role in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. But deforestation and land degradation, a direct result of the growth of the agriculture sector, is irreversibly damaging our planet, its biodiversity, and the important ecosystem services it provides. In fact, the largest driver of deforestation today is the production of agricultural commodities. This is why UNDP set up the Green Commodities Programme (GCP) in 2009 to spearhead dialogue, decision-making and action in the agro-commodity sector between governments, the private sector and civil society. The goal is to improve the economic, social and environmental impact of agricultural commodities, with a specific focus on improving the lot of smallholders, most of whom live in poverty with no access to training, financing or land security. For example, an estimated 26 million coffee … Read more

Racing against the clock, torrential rains and new earthquakes

29 May 2015 by Ugo Blanco, Regional Advisor for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

woman holds babyThe destruction in rural areas affected by the earthquake is severe. Basic services have been affected, and families with babies have difficulty responding to the health needs and housing. Photo: Ugo Blanco / UNDP
The truth is I didn’t know what time it was. Only weeks after the terrible earthquake that devastated Nepal, I was with a team of engineers working with families from the Sindhupalchock district, a rural area in the centre of Nepal where barely a house was left standing. As a UNDP regional crisis adviser, I was focused on the job at hand -- but fate had other plans. Another quake hit. I didn't know what was happening. My legs started shaking uncontrollably, and suddenly I fell to the ground. Then I heard the shouts. Many of the families we were there to help panicked. Men, women, children -- everyone was screaming. Some fainted, while even more homes collapsed around us. In Nepal, we are running against the clock, facing a large number of challenges that make reconstruction a complex task. Over 300,000 homes were damaged. They pose a huge risk, as it’s only a matter of time until they too collapse. In addition, winter is approaching with its torrential monsoon rains. It is absolutely urgent that we help these communities have safer and warmer homes in the coming weeks. People who already had very little before the earthquakes, have now lost … Read more