The road from Paris starts and ends with the media

22 Sep 2017 by Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head of Climate Change Adaptation, Global Environmental Finance Unit, UNDP

A radio presenter broadcasts educational programming in Lao PDR. The media have a crucial role to play in building consensus for climate action. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR
We live in a world of tenuous truths, shortened attention spans, competing priorities, and even-more complicated social and political forces. These very forces threaten to disrupt our pathway from the Paris Agreement to a low-carbon, climate resilient future. Somewhere in the middle, independent media are given the monumental task of looking for truth, and dispelling fake news and bogus science. And yet, the media´s most crucial task is to build consensus on the hard-and-true fact that if we don’t do something about climate change we threaten to derail economic, environmental and social gains of the past 30 years, and create one big mess for future generations to clean up. This is one of the most important stories of the 21st century, and one that I worryingly suspect will define the historic record of our society. As countries around the globe come together this November for the climate talks in Bonn, they will re-affirm the need to honour the Paris Agreement, keep global temperature rises below 2°C, and reach the Sustainable Development Goal to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030. … Read more

UNDP’S new Strategic Plan is a chance to rethink and refocus

28 Aug 2017 by Joseph D’Cruz, Senior Advisor on Strategy and Planning, UNDP

Workers from several UN agenciesThe new Strategic Plan will lay out how UNDP will work with sister UN agencies, governments and other partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: Devaka Seneviratne/UN Sri Lanka
On a Wednesday morning in late June, I got an email from HQ requesting that come to New York from Bangkok to help with the drafting of UNDP’s new Strategic Plan. I said yes, of course. The email was followed by a phone call asking if I could come as soon as possible. The span of time between my receiving the email and boarding a plane was four days. I keep this in mind as I work with the team crafting the document that will guide UNDP’s work over the next four years. There are many instances when UNDP is called on respond quickly to problems and challenges our clients face. It is part of our DNA that we do so whenever and wherever we are needed. This was demonstrated again when we asked staff all over the world to share their thoughts on our future direction. Without missing a beat, they’ve stepped up to the challenge of helping to quickly rethink our vision and strategy for the organization. … Read more

Impact investment to close the SDG funding gap

13 Jul 2017 by Mara Niculescu, Partnership Development Analyst, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

A look at the current state of development funding shows a stark contrast between the price tag to eliminate poverty and protect the planet by 2030, and the actual financial resources that are available. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will take between US$5 to $7 trillion, with an investment gap in developing countries of about $2.5 trillion. At the same time, the most recent OECD DAC report shows that in 2016 the total official development assistance reached a peak of $142.6 billion, which is one order of magnitude smaller than the needs. Who is going to cover these gaps and how? The days of “funding” (out of a moral imperative) are over; instead, “financing” is seeing good investments for your money, while contributing to positive development. … Read more

What does ‘risk-informed’ development finance really look like?

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

The aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. Grenada has since negotiated a ‘hurricane clause’ with some of its debt held with some of its creditors, which allows for a 12-month pause in debt repayment in the event of a hurricane. UNDP photo
How to tackle various forms of risk – from extreme weather events to commodity price shocks, disease outbreaks and over-indebtedness – was high on the agenda of the 2017 Financing for Development (FfD) Forum at the UN. The Forum’s outcome document underscores the challenging nature of the global environment. Economic challenges, such as difficult macroeconomic conditions, low commodity prices, subdued trade growth and volatile international capital flows are compounded by natural disasters, climate change, environmental degradation, humanitarian crises and conflicts. … Read more

Better understanding of human behaviour can help achieve the global development agenda

09 May 2017 by Benjamin Kumpf, Innovation Policy Specialist, UNDP and Lori Foster, Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, North Carolina State University

Recycling e-waste: Research shows that people are highly motivated to take actions their peers have also taken, and this knowledge can be used to design people-centred policies to achieve positive results. UNDP photo
Should you take the medication you need every day at the designated time? Should you test your drinking water supply for safety? Should you invest in fertilizer when you know it will increase your yields? Should you save enough for retirement? The answer to these questions, and to others concerned with general matters of personal wellbeing, is clearly yes. Most people want to do what’s best for them. Despite knowing what’s good for them, many people do not take their medication on-time, ensure their drinking water is safe, spend their money on long-term investments or put aside enough for retirement. All too often, we humans postpone important intended actions to tomorrow, pursue information that only reflects our own point of view or unfairly emphasize the latest information we see over older yet relevant data. … Read more

The Sendai Framework: Underwriting the Sustainable Development Goals

28 Apr 2017 by Jan Kellett, Special Advisor for External Engagement, Climate, Disaster and Energy team, UNDP

A girl collects water in MozambiqueDisasters, and inadequate recovery from them, affect infrastructure, healthcare systems, livelihoods, education, water resources and more. Photo: UNDP Mozambique
Late into the night of 17 March 2015, now more than two years back, Member States, after a marathon negotiation session, finally agreed upon the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The framework document, though not a perfect creation, charts the way forward for national governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and the international community, the target outcome being ‘The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.’ In a step change from the previous agreed upon framework 10 years earlier, Sendai makes risk indistinguishable from development. Risk and development, development and risk, finally one and the same. This is absolutely critical because only development that is risk-informed will be truly sustainable. In the next month and a half two key events on the international calendar will once again bring light on this subject. … Read more

A global partnership builds resilience and renews hope of Yemenis

18 Jan 2017 by Auke Lootsma, Country Director, UNDP Yemen

In partnership with the World Bank, UNDP is implementing a US$300 million emergency project supporting 2 million Yemenis through cash-for-work, improvements to public service delivery and repairing critical infrastructure. Photo: UNDP Yemen
Yemen is facing an unprecedented political, humanitarian, and development crisis. Long the poorest country in the Arab region, over half its population was living below the poverty line before the current conflict worsened. That number has risen steeply, with over 21.5 million people needing humanitarian assistance now—close to 80 percent of the country’s 28 million people. Yemen’s political transition unravelled into full-blown war in March 2015. It has had a catastrophic impact: We in the United Nations estimate it’s already resulted in over 10,000 civilian injuries and deaths. Over 3 million people are displaced. About US$19 billion in damage to infrastructure and in other economic losses have been caused so far. The conflict has further impoverished the Yemeni population and increased their vulnerability. At least 8 million people are severely food insecure, with over 460,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition. The remarkable resilience of the Yemeni population is being tested to its limits. The war has pushed vulnerable members of the Yemeni population to the brink of famine. … Read more

The challenge: How can international co-operation help to put sustainable development at the core of business models?

18 Jul 2016 by Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Federal Republic of Nigeria and former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning

Role of the private sector in Agenda 2030By helping to create decent jobs and build resilient infrastructure, the private sector can be a key partner in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP photo
The private sector has always been an essential actor in development, credited with fostering wealth, innovation and jobs – and many a time blamed for negative externalities. So in this new era, what is different about the role and the responsibilities of the private sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? It is different because sustainable development cannot be achieved without the active involvement of responsible businesses. The private sector will be essential in creating sustainable, productive and decent employment, economic prosperity, resilient infrastructure that underpins sustainable development, and innovations that create green growth and opportunities for all, especially the poor. … Read more

The Angry Birds wish you a Happy Earth Day

22 Apr 2016 by Red, UN Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness

Red eating under a tree
Happy Earth Day to my feathered and non-feathered friends! I’m writing to you from Hong Kong. I’m here as part of my tour around the world tour as the United Nations Honorary Ambassador for Green. I’m talking with people about how important it is to take action on climate change. After all, by taking small actions like using public transportation or turning off your lights, we can all make a difference. And today is a big day! It’s Earth Day and the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement. … Read more

Make it your business: 7 steps to make your business and community better

14 Apr 2016 by Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea and Assel Tleof, Communications Specialist at UNDP Papua New Guinea

people in trainingNational stakeholders receive expert training to promote sustainable development in Papua New Guinea. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea
2016 is a momentous year for change worldwide. It can be pivotal year for us to turn the tide and act on the major social, economic and environmental issues we face. As leaders in business, how can companies best contribute to positive social impact and help countries achieve development? The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be a starting point. Businesses around the world are already starting to focus on the SDGs that are most relevant to their businesses goals and embedding them in their operations. And they are finding it to be commercially beneficial. So as a business leader, where might you begin? … Read more