POPs Hunter: Smartphone game spreads a serious message about pollutants

08 May 2015 by Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director, UNDP China

Primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall holds a POPs publicity poster during a visit to UNDP.Renowned conservationist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall shows support for the #StopthePops campaign during a visit to UNDP in Beijing. Photo: UNDP China
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene, Endrin – these are not part of our everyday vocabulary, but without knowing it many of us come into contact with them on a regular basis. These and many others are known as Persistent Organic Pollutants or ‘POPs’. They are organic chemical substances that present a significant risk to people and the planet. For many people, it’s a difficult topic to understand. That’s why UNDP China is working to spread awareness of the issue, using innovative tools like gamification. Once these pollutants are released into the environment, they remain there for many years, as they don’t dissolve easily. POPs can travel long distances through air and water and can become widely distributed, accumulating in living organisms - wildlife and humans – the same way mercury often accumulates in fish. Research suggests POPs have cancer-causing properties and can disrupt immune, reproductive and nervous systems. The good news is that the world is taking action. In 2001, more than a 100 countries signed the Stockholm Convention on protecting human health and the environment from POPs. Governments that have signed the convention pledge … Read more

Una oportunidad para la igualdad de género

08 May 2015 by Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP

girlThere is a new opportunity to establish gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, essential foundations for inclusive and sustainable development. Photo: Javier Sagredo/UNDP
La Plataforma de Beijing contempla un mundo donde cada mujer y cada niña puedan ejercer sus libertades y opciones y hacer efectivos sus derechos, incluidos el derecho a vivir libres de violencia, a la educación, a ejercer sus derechos de salud sexual y reproductiva, a participar en la toma de decisiones, y a la igualdad de remuneración por trabajo de igual valor. … Read more

What role for the private sector in financing the new sustainable development agenda?

07 May 2015 by By Marcos Athias Neto and Massimiliano Riva

Phasing out fossil fuels is one way to reduce investment in areas that can be harmful to the SDGs. Photo: UNDP in Somalia
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. Unmet investment needs in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are estimated in the range of USD 3-7 trillion a year in developing countries alone with an annual gap estimated at about USD 2.5 trillion (PDF). Not everyone agrees on costing the SDGs (see this mea culpa), but these numbers clearly point to the scale of the challenge. A large share of the resources needed to fund the new agenda will come from the private sector - businesses, foundations and investors. Governments will need to implement policies that align larger shares of private flows to the SDGs. The challenge for the private sector is to move towards inclusive and sustainable business models - thus going beyond the concept of philanthropy and voluntary corporate social responsibility - without undermining profitability. How to achieve this? Within businesses themselves, solutions lie in innovation, new business models, and the right leadership. This needs to be combined with better regulatory frameworks, smart public incentives, and changes in consumer demand. What can be done to foster these changes? … Read more

¿Qué tienen que ver las políticas de drogas y la nueva agenda de desarrollo global?

07 May 2015 by Javier Sagredo, Advisor on Democratic Governance and Citizen Security, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo: UNDP/Brian Sokol
Será muy difícil para algunos países de nuestra región, y de otras regiones del mundo, avanzar con buen pie en los nuevos Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible de la nueva agenda global de desarrollo si no se generan respuestas alternativas que reduzcan los impactos de las políticas actuales de drogas. Impactos tremendos en nuestras sociedades y en su capacidad de desarrollarse sosteniblemente, en nuestros sistemas políticos e institucionales, en nuestras economías, en nuestro medio ambiente, en nuestras mujeres, indígenas y jóvenes; en definitiva, en los más vulnerables. … Read more

Nepal’s opportunity to seize the moment for the future of its people

04 May 2015 by Sujala Pant, Governance Specialist, UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok

A woman tries to recover belongings from the earthquake rubble.The need of the hour is to ensure that the generously contributed aid is disbursed in a timely and transparent manner and reaches people who need it most. Photo UNDP Nepal
When the elders in my family spoke of the 1934 earthquake, they talked about how scary it had been, and the damage it left behind. How Dharara, once the tallest structure in Kathmandu (and since April 25th a pile of rubble) was rebuilt. I was in Kathmandu this time around and it was terrifying to experience the earthquake. I took refuge in my aunt’s house, along with 25 other people whose homes, like many across the city, were either damaged or destroyed. Four days later, leaving Kathmandu for Bangkok, the earthquake provided a stark reminder of the challenges ahead for Nepal. The international airport overflowed with passengers whose flights had been delayed for hours. Food was running out at kiosks that sold snacks and drinks, there was little space for people to stand, and mothers took care of children as best they could. Outside on the tarmac, massive cargo planes - from India, China, the U.S. and a host of other countries - were stationed with supplies and search and rescue equipment, waiting to be picked up. Despite the chaos, there was no frenzy or signs of frustration. Passengers seemed to accept the fact the country had just suffered a major … Read more