Our Perspectives

Are we finally getting an inclusive instrument in place to finance climate action?

22 Sep 2016 by Alexandra Soezer, Climate Change Technical Advisor

Planting trees to counter the effects of climate changePlanting trees is one way to counter the effects of climate change. Photo: Aaron Nsavyimana/UNDP Burundi
It is estimated that US$ 16 trillion is required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This is money that will help to put countries on a low carbon path. Where this money will come from, however, has long been a source of debate. Yet, it seems that we may finally be putting in place the instruments we need to finance our low carbon future. A single mechanism for investing in low carbon development is ineffective, as it does not reflect contextual realities or the priorities of varying stakholders, such as the private sector. What is needed are parallel and complementary mechanisms that support countries at different levels of development. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has boosted private investment in mitigation projects in developing countries. With more than 8,000 projects registered, the CDM has leveraged almost US$ 200 billion of investments in developing countries. This mechanism has, therefore, been a key driver in the effort to reduce emissions and tackle climate change in developing countries. … Read more

Caribbean: Rethinking progress in the sustainable development era

21 Sep 2016 by Jessica Faieta, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

It is essential to ensure that economic growth is inclusive, empowers people and leaves no one behind. Photo: Igor Rugwiza/UN
Caribbean countries make a special case for development. The high and increasing exposure to hazards, combined with very open and trade-dependent economies with limited diversification and competitiveness portray a structurally and environmentally vulnerable region, composed, in the most part, of middle income countries. As these countries start implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we are calling for a new notion of progress. Our UN Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report for the Caribbean titled “Multidimensional Progress: human resilience beyond income”, launched this week in Barbados with top regional authorities makes the case for a new generation of public policies to boost resilience and increase gains in the economic, social and environmental fronts, including peace and justice. For the Caribbean this “multidimensional progress” entails not only adapting to shocks. It means breaking through structural obstacles that hinder growth and people’s well-being—beyond the traditional measurements of living above or below a poverty line. Nothing that reduces the rights of people and communities or threatens the environment can be considered progress. This holistic approach is crucial, especially for the Caribbean. … Read more

For Pacific countries, tomorrow is too late to act on climate change

20 Sep 2016 by Estefanía Samper, Special Assistant to the Executive Coordinator of the Global Environmental Finance Unit

Pacific countries have contributed little to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet they are highly vulnerable to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change. Photo: UNDP Fiji
The drought caused by El Niño in Palau has essentially halted life for many Palauans since March. An increasing number of Tuvaluans are displaced by sea level rise, and 64 communities in Fiji will need to relocate in the coming years. As a region, the Pacific has contributed little or nothing to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet it is incomparably vulnerable to sea level rise, climate-induced ocean acidification, extreme weather events, and erratic precipitation and drought patterns. We heard this sense of urgency repeated many times last month in Fiji, where Pacific countries met to discuss their climate change needs and learn how best to access funds to address them. Each Pacific country present at the meeting told a story of how one extreme climate event can easily wipe out 10 years of growth in one day. … Read more

Migrants and refugees: A global problem or a local solution?

18 Sep 2016 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

A family of 10 flees the besieged city of Yabrud, Syria in Februray 2014. Six hours later, they crossed the border into Arsal, Lebanon. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell.
This week, the world’s governments will come together at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to debate the crisis and response to large movements of migrants and refugees. The concept of “root causes” has been often cited in draft resolutions and speeches. It boils down to the fears and threats people are running away from, leaving behind their homes and countries. Conflict, climate shocks and lack of opportunity, repression and violation of rights, extremism and widespread poverty top the list of development failures that produce forced displacements. Successful development appears as one of the clearest solutions. Development policies need to adequately integrate and consider migration and displacement. … Read more

Social Good Summit: From an idea among friends to a global movement

16 Sep 2016 by Boaz Paldi, Engagement Manager, UNDP

SGS ChinaThe Social Good Summit brings together global leaders, technology experts and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. UNDP photo
When a group of inspired citizens got together seven years ago, asking themselves the question “what if we could have an open, transparent gathering, during UN Week – a real Peoples' Summit?” they could not have possibly imagined where the answer to that question would lead them. I was lucky enough to be present to witness the start of this global movement and have seen it grow over the past seven years. It has been quite a ride, to say the least. We saw US ex-presidents, current vice-presidents, rock stars, scientists, global grassroots leaders. We saw new inventions and innovations for social impact. We saw a worldwide conversation with millions of participants and billions of messages. The list goes on and on. … Read more

Rethinking the way the world deals with refugees

14 Sep 2016 by Cihan Sultanoğlu, Director, Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia

Photo Syrian refugee Sfook Ali AlhelalSyrian refugee Sfook Ali Alhelal sits with one of his two wives and their five children in a two-room apartment in Amman, Jordan. They fear being evicted because they are struggling to pay the rent. Photo: Freya Morales/UNDP
A year ago, masses of people fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan began to stream through the western Balkans on their way to northern Europe. Like anyone following the news closely, I was deeply moved by the chaotic scenes of crowded fields and train stations. A year on, these images have all but disappeared, but the numbers are telling a very different story. According to the International Organization for Migration, by July this year arrivals were up 17% compared with arrivals during the first seven months last year, many of them arriving through Italy and Greece. Europe’s migration crisis is showing no signs of abating. That’s because the crises fueling it are intensifying, uprooting ever growing numbers from their homes. It doesn’t help that refugees are being quarantined or spurned in many places where they set foot. Those kind of measures create even more poverty and despair among already traumatized people. … Read more

Making natural resource revenue sharing work

10 Sep 2016 by Andrew Bauer, Senior Economic Analyst, Natural Resource Governance Institute , Uyanga Gankhuyag, Economist, UNDP and Sofi Halling, Policy Analyst, Extractive Industries, UNDP

Revenue sharing systems can compensate producing regions for environmental damage associated with mineral extraction. Photo: UNDP
Despite a peace agreement signed last year, Libya remains embroiled in violent conflict. At the heart of the conflict is oil, which accounts for more than 90 percent of government revenue. The vast majority is produced in the country’s east and south, while the commercial and administrative capital, Tripoli, is in the west. Just like in other parts of the world suffering from natural resource-fueled conflicts, disagreements over how national and subnational authorities should share the revenues from non-renewable resources are threatening the nation’s stability and future. Natural resource revenue sharing—the legal right of different regions to either directly collect some taxes from oil or mining companies or for the central government to distribute resource revenues to different regions according to a formula—has been proposed as one means of ending the Libyan war. Beyond their potential for bringing peace, revenue sharing systems can compensate producing regions for environmental damage and loss of livelihoods associated with oil, gas and mineral extraction. They can also serve as an acknowledgement of local claims over resource wealth, even in regions without conflict. … Read more

Taking action on #2030Now: Global Goals design jams coming to you!

09 Sep 2016 by Simon van Woerden, Creative Communications and Partnerships, UNDP

Important progress has been achieved since the launch of the Global Goals one year ago. UNDP photo
It has been almost a year since the 2015 Social Good Summit and the spectacular launch of the Global Goals. Since then we have taken important first steps on the road to 2030 - the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We have told friends, family and the world about what the 17 Goals are. We have shown the world why the Global Goals are the most important agenda for people and planet. And together we have pushed and helped governments to create concrete plans of action. In just a short time, we will again come together for the biggest event of the year at the 2016 Social Good Summit. It's time to get ready for a fresh round of inspiring conversations on technology, innovation and new media. Conversations on how we use those tools to create the 2030 we want, now. As this year's theme says: "Connecting Today. Creating Tomorrow." … Read more

The time is now for collective action on migration and displacement

01 Sep 2016 by Owen Shumba, Team Leader, Livelihoods and Economic Recovery

The world counts over 40 million internally displaced people and over 25 million refugees. Photo: UNDP
Migration. Refugees. Internally Displaced Persons. Migrants. Immigrants. Asylum seekers. Host communities. These have become familiar words in our language. Familiar tools in our politics. Yet for millions of people it is a lived experience of human development, responsibility, human tragedy, poverty, conflict, missed opportunities, and more. Left unattended it will devastate future generations. The coming decade will test our resolve to end hunger, poverty, conflicts, reduce disaster risks as well as build lasting peace. The 2030 Agenda has created a foundation for the global community to succeed in this endeavour … Read more

El Nino happens every 3-7 years. How can Africa be better prepared?

31 Aug 2016 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, UNDP Africa

A farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAO
Some 60 million people’s lives have been affected by the 2015-2016 El Niño phenomenon in the Horn and Southern Africa. It was the strongest El Niño since 1950. Severe droughts have led to crop failure and food insecurity, massive livestock and wildlife deaths and loss of livelihoods. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have all declared drought emergencies. In South Africa, only one province, Gauteng, has been spared the emergency. A total of 40 million people, or 22 percent of Southern Africa’s rural population, became food insecure. About 23 million of them needed immediate humanitarian assistance at a cost of US$2.7 billion. … Read more