Climate investment burden or benefit for the poor

30 Oct 2015 by Angelica Shamerina, Program Advisor for Climate Change and Regional Focal Point (Latin America and Caribbean), GEF Small Grants Programme

men in riverCommunity members work on a small hydro installation as part of the Small Grants Programme in the Dominican Republic.
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. Over time, most arguments against climate action have been pushed to the margins—we now have widespread acceptance of climate change’s threats and impacts, as well as an understanding of the mitigation and adaptation measures that need to be taken. However, one argument has stubbornly remained: that the issue is simply too costly to address. Thankfully, this thinking is starting to change. Technological advances, a better understanding of the relationship between energy access and poverty, and the importance of off-grid, low carbon solutions have all helped show that climate action is not a burden, but rather an essential aspect of poverty reduction. Indeed, prominent development thinkers argue that low carbon development is itself a path to growth. Measures intended to mitigate climate change actually bring about other benefits, now widely called “co-benefits”. In his latest review, Dr. Nicholas Stern argued that if co-benefits beyond avoided climate change impacts were formally accounted for, many emissions reductions measures would be worth implementing for their own sake. Gold Standard Foundation found that its small scale projects deliver additional outcomes beyond avoided … Read more

Bashis journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come

28 Oct 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

Somali youthYoung Somali men participate in a vocational training and education program in Burao, Somaliland. But as Africa’s population grows, the number of people escaping conflict in countries like Somalia will continue to rise. Photo: UNDP Somalia
When you read news from Sicily and Calais and Greece, I hope you will remember Bashi*, a young African man among many currently in a migrants’ camp in Europe. I first met Bashi in 2011 in Kenya. He was self-assured and articulate. As I got to know him, I never thought that he would join the young Africans undertaking perilous journeys to seek new starts. Bashi’s story begins in Somalia. At age 14, he crossed the border into northern Kenya to get away from an intensifying conflict. He ended up in Dadaab, one of the largest refugee camps in Africa with more than 350,000 people. After a few years, Bashi made another audacious journey to Nairobi to seek work and education. It is illegal under Kenyan law for refugees to leave the camp, but Bashi “camouflaged” himself in the predominantly Somali neighbourhood Eastleigh. He became a waiter by day, and a student by night, keen to ensure that the circumstances of his birth did not imprison his future. 2014 was a good year for Bashi. He opened his own small shop, selling clothes and “advancing fashion in Nairobi.” Bashi was christened the hipster of Eastleigh with his fondness for tight jeans and oversized glasses. When … Read more

Good practices for development: El Salvador’s contributions

27 Oct 2015 by Stefano Pettinato, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP in Belize and El Salvador

In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. When El Salvador is at the center of international debates, it’s often focusing on the problems the country faces. People look at the glass half empty. But those of us who have the privilege of working and living in this country are aware of many valuable experiences that give El Salvador an edge in the process of adopting the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. If efforts are sustained, it might be possible to also achieve three targets that are lagged-behind (hunger, primary schooling, halt and reverse spread of HIV/AIDS). … Read more

"Work for Human Development" report's launch is opportune timing

26 Oct 2015 by Selim Jahan, Director, Human Development Report office, UNDP

lab workerLab worker in Turkmenistan works on tuberculosis diagnostics. Work has both a direct and indirect link to human health and welfare. Photo: UNDP
On 14 December 2015, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and I will launch the 2015 Human Development Report entitled Work for Human Development. Following this launch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, there will be a number of events around the world presenting the main messages and findings of the Report. The timing is opportune - last month, the Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending extreme poverty, hunger, achieving gender equality, educating all children, and improving global health before 2030. In November, the Valetta Summit on Migration will take place, followed in December by the vital climate change negotiations in Paris. All these set a critical context for human development and this year’s Human Development Report. The Report focuses on the concept of work, which is intrinsic to human development. From a human development perspective, the notion of work is broader and deeper than that of jobs or employment alone. The jobs framework fails to capture many kinds of work that have important human development implications, such as care work, voluntary work and creative … Read more

We must address political economy of growth without development in Africa

23 Oct 2015 by Jean-Luc Stalon, Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Mali

In Africa, many countries with sustained economic growth continue to display extreme levels of inequality and poverty. Access to higher education, with an overall rate of 7 % of the population, is the lowest in the world. Despite the continent being one of the biggest producers of petroleum and having huge hydropower capacity, 621 million Africans don’t have access to electricity. The risk of a child dying before completing five years of age is still highest in the world — 81 per 1,000 live birth — about seven times higher than that in Europe. Understanding the causes of this paradox is likely to dominate the next decade of policy thinking. One emerging understanding is that growth needs to be accompanied by sound fiscal and social policies to have a tangible impact on inequalities and poverty eradication. This means that the state needs to make large-scale investments in education and health to reach all sectors of the population. In order to do this, states should tap into two huge sources of revenue: First, they need to enhance tax collection. It is estimated that achieving just 1 % tax efficiency would generate $30 billion and 2 % would unlock an amount that would … Read more