As glacial lakes flood the effect can be devastating

13 Oct 2015 by Rajeev Issar, Policy Specialist, Disaster & Climate Risk Governance, UNDP

glacier lakeTsho Rolpa Glacial Lake in Gaurishankar VDC, Dolakha district, Nepal. Photo: Deepak KC/UNDP Nepal
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 climate conference in December. Golf, yes. But GLOF? What is that? The increasingly apparent impacts of climate change have introduced this new term—an abbreviation for “glacial lake outburst flood”—to the world’s vocabulary. When glaciers melt, they sometimes form lakes on mountaintops. The water in these glacial lakes accumulates behind loose “dams” made of ice, sand, pebbles and ice residue. But these dams are inherently unstable and avalanches, falling boulders, earthquakes, or even simply the accumulation of too much water can unleash sudden, potentially disastrous floods in nearby communities. GLOFs come up often for those of us who work on disaster and climate risk management in South Asia. They are becoming increasingly common, and can have devastating impacts on lives, livelihoods, and mountain ecosystems, as well as on critical assets and infrastructure such as roads or hospitals. Satellite imagery has shown that, due to the melting of Himalayan glaciers at the rate of 30-60 meters per decade, existing glacial lakes have been expanding while new glacial lakes are being formed at a disconcertingly fast rate. A study of the recorded incidents … Read more

MDGs Perspectives from the Pacific Region

13 Oct 2015 by Patrick Tuimaleali’ifano, Poverty Analyst, UNDP Fiji Multi-country Office

women in FijiWomen in Korociri, Fiji participate in the Food Security and Livelihoods Development project. Fiji achieved four of the seven MDG goals, and many of the targets towards the remaining three goals. Photo: Tomoko Kashiwazaki /UNDP.
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. In the Pacific, progress towards achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) has been uneven. Only two Pacific countries have achieved all the MDGs targets, three countries least half, and the rest of the countries achieving less than half. The majority of Pacific countries have managed to reduce the numbers of child mortality under five years and increase the number of children accessing primary level education. However, many Pacific Countries are off track or stagnant in halving the population living under the poverty line, improving the economic and political empowerment of women, combating non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and ensuring environmental sustainability.     Climate change and NCDs are two challenges with the potential to deter progress across all goals.  Countries are already feeling the adverse impacts of climate change, which affects food security and the ability for Pacific communities to manage their natural resources. Some of the highest incidences of diabetes and obesity in the world are found in the pacific region and the major cause of premature death in nearly all Pacific Island countries is now NCDs. The poor are more vulnerable to … Read more

The road to Paris the Macedonian case

12 Oct 2015 by Pavlina Zdraveva, Project Manager, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, UNDP in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

macedonia gridTo help clarify the aims of the INDC, we made this interactive infographic (click to access).
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. In preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, all participating countries have been asked to develop and determine their own national contributions to slowing climate change. These proposed measures are referred to as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs), and to date, 121 countries have submitted one. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted its INDC in August 2015, the 23rd country in the world to do so. This was the result of hard work and cooperation among various donors, institutions and stakeholders. The country’s INDC was based on detailed technical assessments performed by a large team of experts and on other relevant documents. The final outcome of these efforts is the country’s official commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 30 percent over the next 15 years. This is a crucial commitment because CO2 emissions from fossil fuels currently account for almost 80 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with most emissions generated by the energy supply, buildings and the transport sector. Developing the country’s INDC involved not only the … Read more

It’s our shared responsibility to protect girls’ and women’s rights

11 Oct 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

A girl carries corn in Uganda.A girl takes a computer lesson in a makeshift classroom in Borghaso village, Bamiyan province, Afghanistan. The opportunities she can access will determine her chances of enjoying quality health services, education and decent employment. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan
Today there are 250 million girls living in poverty. Gender inequality remains the most pervasive form of inequality around the world. In many parts of the world, girls suffer from inequality, discrimination and abuse, facing threats to their security, health and welfare. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes a pledge that “no one will be left behind”. To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, a specific Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is established, with gender equality as a cross-cutting theme, and UNDP is working towards making this pledge a reality. Access to basic services will advance girls’ rights, but they will only be guaranteed when girls are empowered.This means that girls everywhere should be able to access opportunities and resources, control their own lives, make decisions, and be able to contribute to the development process, nationally and internationally. The services she can or cannot access, will influence her chances to enjoy quality health services, education and decent employment. In turn, the status of women impacts the wellbeing of their communities. While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) allowed us to eliminate disparities in primary school enrolment between boys and girls in all developing regions and double women’s representation in … Read more

Long days and nights on the road to Paris

08 Oct 2015 by Cassie Flynn, Policy Specialist, Climate Change, UNDP

Community members planting trees with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. Photo: Jackie Curtis/UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. It is 1 September and I am sitting at a table in the basement of the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, with a group of delegates from ten countries. We are discussing a proposal regarding how the crucial element of finance will be included in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We are exhausted, yet determined—this is the second to last negotiation session before countries gather in Paris for the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to agree on a new, universal deal on climate change. Finance is a key part of the deal and the decisions made at this negotiation will be a key stepping stone toward an ambitious outcome in Paris. While we work together to identify the key concepts that are critical for their positions, I am humbled by the delegates’ commitment to make progress. My first UNFCCC negotiation was in 2006, and I have provided technical and advisory services to over 100 governments and six COP Presidents.  I’ve seen the darker side of negotiations—I was there … Read more