UNDP Around the world

Our Perspectives

Climate change

Collective rights, the global commons, and Our Common Home

08 Aug 2017 by Maryka Paquette, Policy Analyst, Global Forests Initiative, UNDP

The Apiwtxa association uses participatory 3D mapping to demarcate Ashaninka territory and support community-based management of indigenous lands. Photo: Associação Ashaninka do Rio Amônia
This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorates the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a monumental step forward in the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ individual and collective rights. Representing 370 million people across 90 countries worldwide, indigenous peoples are communities and societies that, due to their strong dependence on natural resources, are closely rooted to earth-based traditions. Indigenous peoples’ oral histories hold generations of accumulated knowledge of the flora and fauna supported by surrounding ecosystems, as well as the principles and values that allow people to adapt and flourish. The many indigenous peoples’ communities today thrive because they respect the forces of nature and the limits to growth and development. As we begin to push planetary boundaries, we would be wise to draw on those values if humankind is to survive the catastrophic impacts of climate change now upon us. … Read more

Confronting climate change in South Sudan

29 Jun 2017 by Jean-Luc Stalon, Deputy Country Director, UNDP South Sudan and Biplove Choudhary, Team Leader, Human Development and Inclusive Growth, UNDP South Sudan

Up to 95 percent of the people of South Sudan, or more than 11 million people, depend on climate sensitive sectors, including agriculture, forestry resources and fisheries. Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNDP
The man-made crisis in South Sudan has pushed the country back on multiple fronts, hampering agricultural production, disrupting livelihoods and the coping abilities of communities. These are but few of several compelling reasons as to why climate change risks in South Sudan should be a pressing worry at this point in time for the policy makers and international partners. Despite its having no role in contributing to global warming, the country is at once highly vulnerable and least prepared to address looming threats systematically across sectors. According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2017, South Sudan is ranked amongst the five worst performing in the world alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Haiti and Liberia. Projections indicate that in South Sudan, global warming will be felt 2 ½ times more than the global average Up to 95 percent of the livelihoods of the people of South Sudan, or more than 11 million people, depend on climate sensitive sectors, including agriculture, forestry resources and fisheries. Anecdotally, seasonal streams are beginning to dry up, affecting fishing communities in several parts of the country. Drier weather spells are also likely to be an underlying driver of increased deforestation and resource-based conflicts between the pastoralists and the farming communities over access to grazing land. … Read more

Climate change policy from the ground up

21 Jun 2017 by James Vener, Climate Change Mitigation Economist, UNDP

A person planting trees in Moldova.In addition to afforestation initiatives, Moldova has extensive carbon market experience, generating 1,200 tonnes of tradeable carbon emission reductions. Photo: UNDP Moldova
When governments do not properly consider the link between policymaking and how the policy would be practically implemented on the ground, there is a distinct risk the gap between concept and reality will be too much to overcome. In the field of climate change policy, I was recently reminded of one such disconnect that was turned into deft political solution-finding during a visit to Orhei, a farming town in rural Moldova. We were about an hour from the capital, and the national strategy for countering the effects of climate change was in full swing. Sustainable forest management (primarily through protection of forests and new tree plantations) is providing a clear path for Moldova to contribute to the global efforts to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2ºC. The government has ample experience to back it up as well. … Read more

Fighting climate change, one meal at a time

19 Jun 2017 by Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, UN Goodwill Ambassadors

Hands holding seedsRoughly a third of all food produced – about 1.3 billion tons – is wasted each year. This has a negative impact on food security, resource conservation and climate change. Photo: Freya Morales/SDG Fund
The kitchen has always been the most important part of the house for us – it is where we played as brothers growing up in Girona, Spain, where we did our homework as our mother prepared her lamb and tomato stews, and where we first discovered our love of food and cooking. These days, it is a place where we combine our passion, family, and work as we run our restaurant together. The kitchen is also the perfect starting point for making more than meals – it’s a place where we truly believe everyone can make a difference. By making informed food choices, using sustainable cooking methods and reducing food waste, each of us can ensure that, as we nourish our bodies, we are also nurturing our planet. We are what we eat. … Read more

Global shadow financial system enables the plunder of the world's oceans and seas

08 Jun 2017 by Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist: Development Finance, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

The UN Ocean Conference aims to reverse the decline in the health of the world’s oceans and seas: Diminishing fish stocks can undermine food security as well as negatively impact the livelihoods of subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fishers. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/UNDP India
In the run up to the Ocean Conference that is ongoing, this blog series explores issues related to oceans, seas, marine resources and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life below water. This year, the United Nations hosts its “Ocean Conference” from June 5-9 in New York. Billed as a “game changer” event aiming to reverse the decline in the health of the world’s oceans and seas, it is expected to attract thousands of policymakers, scientists and other stakeholders, to stimulate action in support of Sustainable Development Goal 14, “life below water.” That the event is sorely needed is not in question. The state of the world’s oceans and seas is dire, in large part due to human activities, and in particular to human-induced climate change, pollution and overfishing. … Read more

Pacific Small Island States trailblazing fishery management for sustainable oceans

07 Jun 2017 by Jose Padilla, Technical Advisor, Water and Oceans, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Sustainable fishing: Over the years, PSIDS have arrived at consensus among themselves placing themselves in a stronger position to institute measures that regulate fishing and at the same time generate substantial revenues from their resources. UNDP photo
In the run up to the Ocean Conference which just started, this blog series explores issues related to oceans, seas, marine resources and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life below water Two things came to my mind as I made the long flight from Bangkok to Canberra to participate in the Project Steering Committee meeting of the Pacific Oceanic Fisheries Management Project. First, how future livelihoods and sustainability of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) will be affected by global actions, and second, how the ongoing Ocean Conference presents an opportunity for the global community to create more positive outcomes for local communities. … Read more

Gender equality for successful national climate action

06 Jun 2017 by Verania Chao, Policy Specialist, Environment and Climate Change, Gender Team, UNDP

women working in a tea plantationWomen grow tea leaves on small plots of land they own and sell it to local tea processing units. Faced with hotter weather and more erratic rainfall, savings through reducing energy consumption helps maintain competitiveness, protect livelihoods and the environment. Photo: Shashank Jayaprasad/UNDP India
While climate change threatens livelihoods and security across the board, women and girls commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from climate change, particularly when they are living in poverty. Climate-related disasters also hit women hard, often due to restrictions on their mobility and access to information. Women’s unequal participation in decision-making and access to resources and information compound other inequalities and often prevent them from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation. That’s why it is so important to make sure that when countries determine how they are going to implement their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, gender equality concerns are considered and integrated from the very beginning. … Read more

The food situation in Ethiopia is also of great concern

30 May 2017 by David Das Neves, South-South Cooperation and Development Effectiveness Officer, UNDP Africa

Refugees in EthiopiaFew people are aware that Ethiopia is the African country that hosts the most refugees: 730 000 have been recorded, chiefly from Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Kenya. Photo: IOM
Many people find it hard to imagine that people are still dying from hunger despite all the resources at our disposal. I joined UNDP's office in Addis Ababa after working in Geneva, where people usually do not have to worry about whether or not they will have something to eat that day. In contrast, when you live in Ethiopia, the challenges linked to food security stare you in the face, and it's impossible to ignore the crisis situation that the country is currently grappling with. However, one must be careful when using the term famine - a word with a distinct definition. At this very moment, areas of South Sudan arein a state of famine. Somalia and Nigeria are the two countries in Africa where the risk of famine is imminent. Beyond the continent, Yemen is also on the brink of famine. Though they are not among the countries facing the imminent threat of famine, many other countries are severely affected by food insecurity. The list includes Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Eritrea and Ethiopia. … Read more

Oceans of data, islands of databases

08 May 2017 by Sanny Jegillos, Senior Advisor, Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Man in his shopRisk-informed recovery programmes respond to the unique development challenges of island countries like Vanuatu, which was hit by Cyclone Pam in March 2016. UNDP Photo
I am currently in the Solomon Islands, on my second mission in the Pacific Islands this year, and I am now certain that I will be back in Papua New Guinea in less than a month. Since Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and Cyclone Winston in Fiji (2015/2016), my engagement as UNDP advisor on disaster risk reduction and recovery in the Pacific has increased. For UNDP colleagues based in the Pacific, I hear that there has not been any pause in crisis response since 2014. What does this trend mean? What do we foresee in the future? Where do we get the information to guide our organization’s strategy and programmes? … Read more

A humanitarian crossroads: Why climate resilience is key to avoiding future food crises

03 May 2017 by Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head of Climate Change Adaptation, Global Environmental Finance Unit, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

The current food crises in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen have links to climate change and a lack of resilient systems that can withstand drought, flood and other impacts. Photo: UNDP Somalia
The world is seeing its worst humanitarian crisis since 1945. Right now, over 20 million people are at risk of starvation. We are at a crossroads. The current food crisis can very easily be linked to changes in climate and a lack of resilient systems that can withstand drought, flood, changing rains and other impacts that are leaving people without crops, without money and without food to feed their families. Immediate humanitarian aid is needed for hard-hit nations like Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. But the work does not stop there. We need to continue our efforts to build more climate-resilient nations, where changes in climate don't spell disaster and leave children starving, where proactive - rather than reactive - steps are taken to support vulnerable people in breaking the cycle of poverty, and where leaders and institutions have the capacity, skills, training and resources they need to make sure humanitarian crises like this do not repeat themselves. … Read more