Our Perspectives

Unleashing the entrepreneur spirit for economic growth in Jordan: Let me count the ways

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UNDP sees entrepreneurship as a central driver of economic stability and supports initiatives that tap into local skills. Photo: UNDP Jordan

There's nothing quite like having a bunch of entrepreneurs in the same room to generate off-the-charts energy and inspiration for economic development and social progress. I was fortunate to host a social innovation workshop in Amman, Jordan, with a collection of business starters and supporters to generate ideas for strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem in the country. The workshop was held on the occasion of the visit to Jordan of the UN Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC), a group of eight luminaries from around the world who support those creative and bold enough to start new businesses. The Council, chaired by Ashish Thakkar, was in Jordan… Read more

Acting on climate change requires ‘boots on the ground’

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Years of changing seasons can wipe out food and water supplies for decades. Photo: UNDP

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are on the frontlines of climate change. With populations often heavily reliant on climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry to drive their economies, the impacts of climate change are amplified. One erratic storm or years of changing growing seasons can wipe out food and water supplies for years or decades. This has immense social and economic impacts that reduce opportunities, reinforce inequalities and potentially reverse progress toward reducing poverty. Charting a development path that integrates climate change action is therefore essential for true sustainable development and that requires direct capacity-building.… Read more

Sport for SDGs: A journey from Khartoum to Rio de Janeiro

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Sudanese athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: UNDP Sudan

Sport is usually not the first thought that comes to mind when talking about achieving sustainable development. Nonetheless, sport has been an instrumental tool in the promotion of peace and development for many years and I was able to witness it for myself at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since the inception of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), sport has been essential in implementing the MDGs, it is also recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which emphasizes “the growing contribution of sport […] in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communitie"… Read more

Defending the planet starts on your plate

Sustainable consumption and production is the theme of this year’s International Youth Day. It invites us to reflect on how young people can help to achieve the Sustainable Develop Goals, especially Goal 12. Young or not-so-young, many of us ask ourselves whether, on a personal level, we can contribute to the fight against climate change and other major global challenges. Turning off the light when leaving a room, recycling waste, reducing the use of plastic bags, having a shower rather than a bath… Many of us have already adopted such habits in our everyday lives. But what about our eating habits?… Read more

2030 Agenda: Recognition for indigenous peoples, a challenge for governments

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A delegate speaks at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. To achieve the 2030 Agenda, indigenous peoples must have a seat at the table. UN Photo

We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without recognizing that we live in multicultural societies. With this in mind, upholding the rights of indigenous peoples becomes a necessary imperative. Respect for indigenous peoples’ rights opens the door to enormous opportunities for advancing the SDGs. Their capacity to further develop their own systems of education, health, justice and traditional food will strengthen each country’s efforts and investments. There are more than 300 million indigenous people in the world, speaking more than five thousand languages and keeping their heritage alive. This is the true wealth of humankind.… Read more

Indigenous knowledge – ancient solutions to today’s challenges

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Indigenous knowledge, such as the use of ancient grains and traditional agricultural methods, can help to ensure food security while protecting the environment. Photo: UNDP Peru

Revitalizing and supporting indigenous knowledge is essential to address many of today’s challenges, including the effects of climate change. Indigenous knowledge is a key resource that needs to be promoted to support livelihoods and food security, often under threat due to climatic changes. Here are some examples of how indigenous peoples and local communities around the world are reviving traditional practices and knowledge.… Read more

4 lessons learned fighting tuberculosis in Syria

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Tuberculosis patients displaced by conflict may lose access to health services, causing an interruption in treatment that increases their risk of developing multi-drug resistant strains of TB. Photo: UNDP Syria

Tuberculosis thrives on war and suffering. In theory, Syria offers the perfect breeding grounds for the disease. A lack of access to adequate medical services and poor and crowded housing conditions have created conditions ripe for the spread of tuberculosis. Yet, TB has been largely kept in check. Some 3,479 people were placed on treatment in 2015, a 150 percent increase compared with 2013. The TB treatment success rate has also been maintained at 80 percent during the conflict. UNDP has been supporting Syria to tackle TB since 2007, in partnership with the Global Fund. The onset of war in 2011 made this highly complex and has required a range of innovative approaches.… Read more

Development in 2 minutes: It’s about expanding choices

Every week, at least one person asks me, “So what does the United Nations Development Programme do?” They want to know what the "development" is that we are trying to achieve, and what our "programme" is for achieving it. The simple answer is that “development” is about helping people have more choices. It's about removing the obstacles that prevent them from realizing their potential – overcoming the barriers that stand between them and their dreams. These obstacles come in many different forms. For 36 percent of Afghans, poverty is one barrier to self-fulfillment. For around 50 percent, it's being a woman in the face of widespread discrimination and routine harassment. For all Afghans at one time or another, it's being from the wrong ethnic group, which can make you a stranger in your own land.… Read more

The fear factor: How a little alarm protects tigers, landscapes – and us

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Poaching, hunting and habitat loss have reduced the global tiger population from roughly 100,000 in 1900 to just 3,800 today. Photo: Midori Paxton

“Alarm call!” My 12-year old daughter whispered. Fear was in the air, and a successful tiger safari depends on it. The alarm calls of spotted deer, Hanuman langur and even the gigantic Gaur – the Indian Bison -- told us that a tiger was on the prowl. I had always dreamed of seeing wild tigers, and India was the obvious choice. More than 70 percent of the estimated 3,800 remaining wild tigers live here. My alarm calls started in February this year when I was in the Ranthambore National Park. Once a hunting ground for maharajas of yore, it is now a tiger reserve with an 11th century fort cresting a towering plateau that overlooks its lakes, dry forests and meadows.… Read more

Our future is in cities: Add your voice and help shape a new urban agenda

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Most young people in Mongolia will grow up in cities such as Ulaanbaatar. Photo: Joseph D'Cruz

I first visited Mongolia in 2005. Like most people, I pictured it as a country of nomadic horse riders herding livestock across the vast steppes. I was surprised to learn that almost three-quarters of Mongolians now live in cities and towns - with more than half the population in the capital Ulaanbaatar alone. In 1960, only 35 percent of Mongolians were urban, but that proportion has doubled in the last half-century. A similar transformation is happening in developing countries all around the world. Millions of rural dwellers are migrating to cities and towns, drawn by the prospect of better lives - or driven by poverty, conflict and natural disasters. Cities and towns are growing fast, swallowing surrounding countryside and transforming nearby villages into suburbs. This process is called urbanization, and it is one of the biggest stories in development today.… Read more

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