Our Perspectives

Sustainable agriculture key to green growth and reducing poverty

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Indonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are plagued by bad production techniques. Photo: UNDP in Indonesia

The production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, and cocoa, plays a pivotal role in global efforts to improve livelihoods across the globe. Sadly, agriculture is also the main driver of deforestation today, and is threatening to devastate the very environment upon which we depend to survive.

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues... Read more

Wading through the facts: Lessons from the Georgia flood

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Flood recovery operations brought together the government, civil society, international organizations and volunteers. But with the sense of solidarity comes an understanding that disaster management systems must be strengthened. Photo: David Khizanishvili/UNDP

It’s still hard to believe what happened. In just four days, the death toll has reached 19 with a handful still missing, hundreds left homeless, an entire zoo simply washed away.

In those first hours, I, like so many others, marvelled at the torrential rain coming down with surprising fury. Driving home through streets already beginning to flood, how could I know the devastation was already underway?... Read more

Nepal’s road to recovery is paved with collaboration

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In a park located in a central urban area in Kathmandu, Nepal, citizens who lost their houses are living in tents provided by international assistance. Photo: Naoki Nihei/UNDP

Looking down from a plane above Kathmandu, I was not able to clearly assess the degree of damage from the 25th April earthquake. In rural areas, most of the houses were destroyed. In Kathmandu, many whose houses were affected are living in tents outside of their homes.

In late May, I travelled to Kathmandu to support Japan-UNDP cooperation to help the Government of Nepal in the reconstruction planning after the devastating earthquakes. I could see the colorful tents everywhere in the city, as we flew over it.... Read more

Next time could be different – Towards risk-informed development finance

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State-contingent financing can help countries manage risk and deal with shocks more effectively. Photo: UNDP in Sierra Leone

History provides a stark reminder that sovereign debt crises have been and are a regular feature of international development and finance. But is this the inevitable reality of international finance? Or can we think of new forms of risk-informed development finance?

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues... Read more

There is no honour in barring women from voting

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Pakistani women exercise their right to vote on the Cantonment board elections in Lahore. Photo: UNDP Pakistan

On 30 May, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan went to the polls to exercise their hard-earned democratic right to choose their local leaders.

But newspaper reports emerged of candidates, community elders, and religious leaders conspiring to bar women from voting. In an earlier by-election, local media reported that out of 47,280 registered women voters, not a single woman cast her vote, following a decision by local leaders to ban women from voting.... Read more

We all must do more to promote gender equality

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The UNDP Gender Seal has encouraged allies to government and civil society using new measures to promote gender equality in Cuba. Photo: Carolina Azevedo/UNDP

Gender issues and concerns relating to equality and fairness involve women and men, in all different “shapes and sizes” - age, skin color, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity. Men are in a position to do far more to contribute to gender equality in all walks of life, in workplaces, families, and other groups to which we belong. For those of us who lead forums in the field of development cooperation, this has to be more than a policy and institutional mandate. It must be a binding obligation that we dare not ignore and which makes us grow as people.... Read more

Helen Clark welcomes Pope Francis' climate change encyclical

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Building resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector is a central issue in Lao PDR, where almost a third of GDP (29.9 percent) is generated through the agriculture sector, and approximately 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. Photo: Luke McPake/UNDP Laos

Pope Francis today issued an encyclical in which he called climate change a “principal challenge” for humanity.

In the 184-page letter, Pope Francis noted that the poor are the most vulnerable to climate change, and the Pontiff urged that “swift action” be taken to “confront the crisis.”

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark praised the Pope’s climate message.... Read more

Why rice farmers are key to tackling climate change in the Philippines

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In the Philippines, rice is the most important crop and its agriculture represents 11% of the growing GDP of the country.

When I began supporting the Philippines Programme for rice cultivation, I saw it through the lens of climate change mitigation. The logic was, if we made some necessary improvements to cultivation methods, we could reduce greenhouse gas emission (GGE) and help mitigate climate change. This is especially important in a country where 29 percent of the GGEs come from rice cultivation.

However, I quickly learned was that although you might be driven and committed to work towards reducing global warming, it does not necessarily lead to the critical buy-in of stakeholders like the Department of Agriculture, the National Irrigation Administration, and farmers. ... Read more

Costing crises and pricing risk: delivering on ‘sustainability’

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The cost to the Ebola-affected countries has been pitched at US$1.6 billion, equivalent to 12% of their combined GDP. Photo: UNDP in Sierra Leone

Earthquakes. Cyclones. Drought. Conflict. The Ebola outbreak. Oil price collapses.

Shocks and stresses of different kinds strain countries, communities and families and set back development, sometimes for decades.

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues.... Read more

When it comes to governance, millions have an opinion

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Somwati Bai is the leader of a local self-government organization in India’s Madhya Pradesh province, where she leads meetings and addresses questions ranging from government entitlements to access to basic amenities. Photo: UNDP India

Recently, the world was gripped by a global corruption scandal, involving alleged bribes and kickbacks across continents and institutions.

In May, ten times as many people tweeted about issues related to transparency, corruption, and ‘good governance’ than about health or food issues. But even before the FIFA scandal broke, ‘honest and responsive government’ was consistently one of the most tweeted development issues.... Read more

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