A data revolution for international financial flows?

21 May 2015 by Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist on Development Finance, UNDP and Jos Verbeek, Advisor, Office of the President’s Special Envoy (SEM), World Bank

Women in Burkina FasoForeign direct investment in Burkina Faso in 2010 amounted to US$888 million including technical cooperation, according to the OECD. Photo: UNDP in Burkina Faso
In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues. At the start of 2016, the U.N. will launch a new set of Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, to drive development efforts around the globe. But one question still needs some thought: How will we finance these new goals? Even more questions lie within this broader question on finance. Which countries need more resources? What types of resources are needed most? Where does international finance, both public and private, currently flow? Where does it not? Answers to all of these require reliable and easy-to-understand data on all international financial flows. When governments convene in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to agree on a framework for financing the new sustainable development agenda, there will be a key window of opportunity to improve the existing, haphazard approach to data collection and reporting. In one sense, we already have unprecedented data at our fingertips. Yet, for example, if you were to ask the heads of the U.N., the IMF, and the World Bank how much financing low-income countries receive in a given year and from which sources, you would receive a very different answer from each. This happens for … Read more

The hidden aspects of women’s poverty

20 May 2015 by Claudia Vinay, Policy Specialist on Economic Empowerment, Gender Team, UNDP

A Hmong woman and her child in Viet Nam.A Hmong woman and her child in Viet Nam. According to UN Women, women do two and a half times as much unpaid work as men, including caring for children, the elderly and the ill. Photo: Kibae Park/UN
“Let’s make the invisible visible.” This statement, by Argentina Minister of Social Development Alicia Kirchner, captured a recurrent theme at the global conference on women and social inclusion, recently co-hosted by UNDP in Buenos Aires. Despite the gains that women have made over the past decades, there are still too many factors affecting women’s lives that are not recognized in public policies. Unless they are addressed, efforts to eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development will fall short. Topping this list is the substantial amount of unpaid work that women do throughout the world, in countries both rich and poor. According to a recent UN Women report, women do almost two and a half times as much unpaid care work as men, from caring for children, the elderly and the ill to preparing meals and gathering water and fuel for cooking. But despite this daily reality that women know all too well, official measures of poverty don’t take into account either the time women spend on unpaid work or the money they might spend to “outsource” this work – such as to arrange childcare so they can go to work. If these factors were recognized and included in poverty measurements, many more … Read more

Permanent Beta Six Ways to Innovate for Development for 2015 and Beyond

19 May 2015 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

Haitian gathering outsideLocals gather at the launch of UNDP Haiti’s LIDE project during the SHIFT Week of Innovation Action in September 2014. Photo: UNDP in Haiti
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. As negotiations on finalizing the new development agenda heat up, one thing is clear - delivering on these goals will require investment in innovation. But what exactly does innovation mean in the context for development? It means to embrace complexity, acknowledging that there are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions for the persistent, inter-connected development challenges across the globe. Innovations that lead to breakthroughs can only be created in partnerships. These are two of Nine Innovation Principles UNDP endorsed last year, together with seven UN entities and seven foundations and donors. We also launched the Innovation Facility with the support of the Government of Denmark. The Innovation Facility’s “Year in Review” report is just out. As we approach our first anniversary, we highlight six areas where UNDP will seek to innovate in 2015 and beyond. What, exactly, is the problem? We focus on understanding the problem based on available data. UNDP is working with UN Global Pulse and other partners on big data analysis to help give us and governments the most detailed picture possible with the data available. We also embrace ethnographic methods that help … Read more

Building back better in Nepal

15 May 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

woman carrying door in NepalTo help the micro-entrepreneurs, UNDP is allocating resources so that they can rapidly restore their businesses. Photo: UNDP in Nepal
The earthquake in Nepal is a tragedy, and there can be little consolation for the large scale death and destruction— for the lives and livelihoods lost, or for the many who are seriously injured, shattered and living in a state of fear and despair. However, the earthquake also exposed many of the vulnerabilities that amplified the impact of the shock, and has opened up opportunities for the country to recalibrate its development trajectory. There are two important lessons that should be heeded as we go forward. First, there are already strong calls from the international community for Nepal to address underlying risks and build back better. This is crucial, but it will take time and resources, not the least of which will be financial and technical support to ensure that the more than 500,000 homes destroyed or damaged are rebuilt or repaired so as to withstand future quakes. Having served in Mexico and lived in Mexico City a decade after the terrible earthquake that hit the megalopolis, I can attest to what a serious, risk-informed, massive urban planning exercise looks like. Mexico D.F. was built back much better. While it won’t be easy in Nepal, it will pay off in the … Read more

Where are the trillions needed to finance the new development agenda?

14 May 2015 by Pedro Conceição, Director of Strategic Policy at UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Woman carrying solar panels in HondurasLabour force participation of women is lower than men almost everywhere. Photo: UNDP in Honduras
In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts and lessons learned on key financing for development issues, in the run-up to the UN’s Financing for Development conference in July. While world leaders are focused on adopting a new set of sustainable development goals at the United Nations in September, a debate that has received far less attention is also raging: how to finance the new goals? A new paper (PDF) by the World Bank, IMF and other multilateral development banks argues that the new global development agenda will cost trillions of dollars, not billions. How can these trillions of dollars be mobilized? The scale of the challenge calls on us to have a broader and more sophisticated approach to financing. One way to mobilize these trillions of dollars is by eliminating discrimination against women. Yes, that’s right, eliminating discrimination is not only a matter of social justice. Discrimination and inequality of opportunity is also wasteful, because people are not enabled to contribute with their talent, creativity, and full potential to society and the economy. Consider this concrete illustration (PDF). In the United States, 94 percent of lawyers and doctors working in 1960 were white males. By 2008, this was reduced … Read more