We need to get better at "killing our darlings"

25 Aug 2015 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

"The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up", painting by J. M. W. Turner, 1838.
Reading James Whitehead’s post on the best ways to be innovative, I found myself nodding to most of his reflections. Particularly: ”I want to be working with people who are passionate about solving problems at scale rather than magpies obsessed with finding shiny new innovative solutions.” Yet, I felt something more needed to be said. The well-known side of innovation is the creative one. We identify novel ways of doing business, co-create new ideas with the end-users, and test them. The flip side of innovation is to discontinue practices for which we do not have sufficient evidence of impact or that are no longer relevant. … Read more

Africa, midway through its "Glorious Thirty"

17 Aug 2015 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

des vendeuses dans un marché en RDCAfrica's economic prospects are bright, but the continent loses about 4 percent of its GDP each year due to the exclusion of women from business and politics. Photo: Aziza Bangwene/UNDP in DRC
Sub-Saharan Africa is the only place in the world where living standards stagnated and even declined throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But things are now very different. Africa’s prospects began to change radically in the late 1990s, with its growth rate close to five percent per year ever since. Africa has made concomitant gains in the social sphere. It has made remarkable progress on primary education, child mortality, slowing down HIV and Aids or increasing the numbers of women in parliament. … Read more

What does inclusive economic growth actually mean in practice?

31 Jul 2015 by By Paloma Durán, Director, Sustainable Development Goals Fund

Coffee cooperative in AfricaA farmer with his family in Chingawaram village, India. Inclusive growth is about ensuring that the benefits of development reach the entire population, including the most vulnerable members. Photo: UNDP India
With the historic Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) now completed, “inclusive growth” remains a high priority on the agenda. While most stakeholders agree it’s an important and compelling part of the dialogue on development, it still remains rather ambiguous as a term. And seemingly when you ask five economists to define the concept, you will likely end up with six answers. Within the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund), we are keen to understand the various theories pertaining to inclusive growth and how best to put them into practice. We realize that there’s more than one way to achieve this objective, which means there is plenty of room for creativity. … Read more

Invest in infrastructure, invest in development

29 Jul 2015 by Stefano Pettinato, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for El Salvador and Belize

airport workerDuring the year and a half project, it directly employed 314 men and 23 women and generated 1,500 indirect jobs. Photo: Mauricio Martínez/UNDP El Salvador
Roads, buildings, airports – seemingly practical infrastructure developments can not only meet the demands of society, but also fulfill the requirements and rights of individuals, leading to better human development. The development and strengthening of logistical and transportation infrastructure has a potential impact both on economic development and poverty reduction. Transportation infrastructure is of vital importance to the standard of living of a population. It links urban and rural areas, connects the country internationally, facilitates access to basic services such as education and health, and contributes to the sound functioning of cities, rendering them more competitive. Furthermore, logistical infrastructure can play an instrumental role when it comes to creating high-quality jobs and bolstering competitiveness in the production of goods and services, enhancing increased productivity and efficiency, which reflects lower costs. … Read more

Caring about those who care for others

28 Jul 2015 by René Mauricio Valdés, Resident Representative, UNDP Argentina

 In Argentina, women currently devote almost twice as much time as men to care-related tasks: 6.4 hours a day compared to 3.4 hours.
All societies have people to care for and care-givers. Although there are different forms of care-giving, it is often undertaken by family members, mostly women and girls whose labor is usually unpaid. Here in Argentina, a country which has made remarkable progress in women’s rights and gender equality, women currently devote almost twice as much time as men to care-related tasks: 6.4 hours a day compared to 3.4 hours. The ability to meet care needs is also critical to national well-being, and the economic dimension of care-work is becoming more visible in Latin America. Studies undertaken in Colombia and Mexico indicate that the economic value of care activities accounts for approximately 20% of GNP. … Read more

The gender gap in extractive dependent countries

28 Jul 2015 by Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor, UNDP and Chinpihoi Kipgen, Research Associate, UNDP

DR CongoIn high extractive dependent countries, the average unemployment rate for women is 15% and 8% for men. Photo: UNDP in DR Congo
It is time to shift policy attention towards a gender sensitive fiscal expenditure in resource dependent economies. This means investing the revenues from oil, gas and minerals in women and girls so that they enjoy equal access to leadership positions and employment in fields where they are traditionally underrepresented. … Read more

Stronger partnerships with foundations to take sustainable development further

27 Jul 2015 by Marcos Neto, Team Leader, Private Sector and Foundations and Karolina Mzyk, Policy Specialist, Foundations, UNDP

HC in IndonesiaA farmer in Kenya, one of four countries where UNDP is partnering with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Photo: UNDP Africa.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” This old African proverb underpins UNDP’s engagement with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda. Ghana is the fourth country – following Kenya, Colombia and Indonesia – where we are connecting local foundations with the UN, government, private sector and civil society led policy discussions and development initiatives. The project is in collaboration with our partners the Foundation Center and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and aims to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). … Read more

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda: A step forward on financing for development?

21 Jul 2015 by Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist on Development Finance

HaitiThe need to build capacities in risk preparedness and to ensure that the international community is able to respond to shocks with timely and adequate financial support is acknowledged in the Addis Abeba Action Agenda. Photo: UNDP in Haiti
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda lays out the steps the international community promises to take to fund the world’s new sustainable development agenda – to be agreed in New York in September. This new document must also chart a path for how we can address the challenges which have emerged – or become more pronounced – since the 2002 Monterrey Consensus, such as climate change, accelerated environmental degradation and inequality. So did we get our ‘Monterrey Plus’ in Addis Ababa? In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues. … Read more

Through better giving, improving lives

16 Jul 2015 by Douglas Broderick, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Indonesia and the UNDP Resident Representative

panasonic lantern in Sumba, IndonesiaApproximately 28 million people live below the poverty line in Indonesia. Photo: Panasonic
As the fasting month of Ramadhan – a time of introspection and good works – comes to a close, it seems appropriate to reflect on the ways we can better strive to help those who need it most. Engaging with givers is vital to development success, and only through better cooperation between stakeholders both public and private can we ensure that no one is left behind. … Read more

A new development model to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges

15 Jul 2015 by Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Kazakhstan is becoming a donor to other countries. Photo: UNDP in Kazakhstan
As economies boom in developing countries across the world, and many of these countries graduate to Middle Income Country status, the landscape of development is being fundamentally reshaped. We are now witnessing a range of more nuanced and complex development situations, which call for a new approach to meeting some of the world’s toughest development challenges. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more