Climate plans aren’t just for the environment

14 Nov 2016 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

femmes recoltant de l'argan au MarocGrowing demand for argan oil has increased household income but places serious pressure on natural forests. Photo: UNDP Morocco
After last year’s successful adoption of the Paris Agreement, climate negotiators and activists are now on their way to Morocco. Marrakesh will host the 2016 climate summit, COP22, which has been presented as the COP of implementation, as they will focus on the nuts and bolts. Dangerous climate change requires courageous climate action. Meeting the targets set out by the Paris Agreement is simply essential to our safety and prosperity, and will not only help address rising global temperatures but also enable a host of other benefits, from food to jobs to health and sustainable growth. The entirety of our development rests on the actions we take to address climate change. Better if aiming at under 1.5 degrees. Take Morocco and the North of Africa to understand how robust climate solutions can offer tangible development benefits. According to the Max Planck Institute, temperatures in this region are set to rise twice as fast as on the global level, potentially rendering large parts uninhabitable and impacting economies, water access, and food security. If unaddressed, we risk straining social and economic systems across a region that has already seen its share of conflict and migration, leading potentially to instability, displacement and demographic pressure on urban centres. … Read more

Health and well-being for the world’s poor: Making the case for tobacco taxation

11 Nov 2016 by Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director, HIV, Health and Development Group, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and Roy Small, Health and Innovative Financing Consultant, UNDP

Health and well-being for the world’s poor: Making the case for tobacco taxationTaxation on tobacco has emerged as a proven intervention in rich and poor countries alike to improve health while simultaneously financing development priorities. UN Photo/Martine Perret
Tobacco taxes have emerged as a proven gold standard intervention to stem the rising tide of health and development challenges. … Read more

Well-structured public finance can align profit and sustainability aspirations

29 Sep 2016 by Li Yong, Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

To promote inclusive and sustainable growth, international public investment should support small and medium businesses. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi
The ambitious global commitment to pursue inclusive and sustainable paths of development – outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – comes at a moment that does not admit any further delay. The economic, environmental and social challenges we face are enormous and must be addressed today, before climate change, demographic pressures, fragile security situations and other unsustainable global trends take their unbearable toll on all of us. At the same time, this agenda unveils a new set of opportunities for investments to yield unprecedented levels of economic and social dividends, provided that the appropriate co-ordination mechanisms and instruments are put in place. This means rethinking the role of official development assistance (ODA) to increase its efficiency and impact as an international public investment tool. It means making it more co-ordinated, catalytic and targeted as an instrument for attracting additional public and private investments for the transformation we all strive to achieve. Public finance will need to focus on initiatives that can drive progress on the SDGs, bringing into play the necessary industries – with their investments and their knowledge … Read more

Are we finally getting an inclusive instrument in place to finance climate action?

22 Sep 2016 by Alexandra Soezer, Climate Change Technical Advisor

Planting trees to counter the effects of climate changePlanting trees is one way to counter the effects of climate change. Photo: Aaron Nsavyimana/UNDP Burundi
It is estimated that US$ 16 trillion is required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This is money that will help to put countries on a low carbon path. Where this money will come from, however, has long been a source of debate. Yet, it seems that we may finally be putting in place the instruments we need to finance our low carbon future. A single mechanism for investing in low carbon development is ineffective, as it does not reflect contextual realities or the priorities of varying stakholders, such as the private sector. What is needed are parallel and complementary mechanisms that support countries at different levels of development. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has boosted private investment in mitigation projects in developing countries. With more than 8,000 projects registered, the CDM has leveraged almost US$ 200 billion of investments in developing countries. This mechanism has, therefore, been a key driver in the effort to reduce emissions and tackle climate change in developing countries. … Read more

For Pacific countries, tomorrow is too late to act on climate change

20 Sep 2016 by Estefanía Samper, Special Assistant to the Executive Coordinator of the Global Environmental Finance Unit

Pacific countries have contributed little to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet they are highly vulnerable to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change. Photo: UNDP Fiji
The drought caused by El Niño in Palau has essentially halted life for many Palauans since March. An increasing number of Tuvaluans are displaced by sea level rise, and 64 communities in Fiji will need to relocate in the coming years. As a region, the Pacific has contributed little or nothing to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet it is incomparably vulnerable to sea level rise, climate-induced ocean acidification, extreme weather events, and erratic precipitation and drought patterns. We heard this sense of urgency repeated many times last month in Fiji, where Pacific countries met to discuss their climate change needs and learn how best to access funds to address them. Each Pacific country present at the meeting told a story of how one extreme climate event can easily wipe out 10 years of growth in one day. … Read more

Making natural resource revenue sharing work

10 Sep 2016 by Andrew Bauer, Senior Economic Analyst, Natural Resource Governance Institute , Uyanga Gankhuyag, Economist, UNDP and Sofi Halling, Policy Analyst, Extractive Industries, UNDP

Revenue sharing systems can compensate producing regions for environmental damage associated with mineral extraction. Photo: UNDP
Despite a peace agreement signed last year, Libya remains embroiled in violent conflict. At the heart of the conflict is oil, which accounts for more than 90 percent of government revenue. The vast majority is produced in the country’s east and south, while the commercial and administrative capital, Tripoli, is in the west. Just like in other parts of the world suffering from natural resource-fueled conflicts, disagreements over how national and subnational authorities should share the revenues from non-renewable resources are threatening the nation’s stability and future. Natural resource revenue sharing—the legal right of different regions to either directly collect some taxes from oil or mining companies or for the central government to distribute resource revenues to different regions according to a formula—has been proposed as one means of ending the Libyan war. Beyond their potential for bringing peace, revenue sharing systems can compensate producing regions for environmental damage and loss of livelihoods associated with oil, gas and mineral extraction. They can also serve as an acknowledgement of local claims over resource wealth, even in regions without conflict. … Read more

African countries need institutions that will direct investment to where it is needed most

29 Aug 2016 by Andrew Chipwende, CEO, Industrial Development Corporation, Zambia

Lusaka, Zambia. Zambia underwent major structural reforms in recent years to attract investment.
International investment has helped Zambia, like many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, become more integrated into the global economy over recent years. Inward investment flows have doubled since 2008 and Zambia has even started to generate some modest foreign direct investment outflows. Although the country has undertaken major structural reforms over the past two decades to make it a more attractive location for investment, the Zambian government realised that this was not enough. Research has shown that foreign direct investment in mining remains dominant, although flows to manufacturing and services have also shown an upward trend. … Read more

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

24 Aug 2016 by Jennifer Colville, Team Leader, Innovation, UNDP Arab States

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

Humanitarian action makes sound business sense

31 May 2016 by Marcos Neto, Director, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development

Private sector, individual companies and philanthropic actors support humanitarian action and development in many countries. Photo: UNCT
In February, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, resulting in loss of life, disruption to business supply chains and damage to properties. The estimated cost to the Fijian economy was US$470 million. Imagine the even greater impact to the Philippines, which is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, five of which are destructive. The challenges the world is facing right now are overwhelming. More than 130 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the world today. Some 60 million people have been forcibly displaced. UN-coordinated plans to provide life-saving aid and protection to the most vulnerable people require nearly US$21 billion each year. … Read more

Expanding financing options to advance the 2030 Agenda in the least developed countries

28 Apr 2016 by Philippe Orliange, Director of strategy, partnerships and communication at the AFD and Pedro Conceição, Director of Strategic Policy at UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Meeting the aspiration of leaving no one behind implies focusing greater attention to those living in the Least Developed Countries. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi
2015 was a milestone year for international cooperation on sustainable development. The Paris Agreement shows the commitment of the international community to tackle climate change. The 2030 Agenda, also adopted in 2015, puts forward 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to protect people and planet. Meeting the aspiration of leaving no one behind, and reaching the furthest behind first, implies focusing greater attention to those living in the Least Developed Countries. This group of countries includes those with the lowest levels of income per person, poor health and education levels, and high vulnerability to economic, health and other shocks and disasters. … Read more