Simplicity, thy name is MDGs

22 Sep 2015 by Shakeel Ahmad, Assistant Country Director and Chief, Development Policy Unit, UNDP in Pakistan

Women weavingAt Musa Zai Union Council in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, women are trained in their areas of interest so they can earn their own income and have sustainable livelihoods. Women’s share in wage employment is the lowest in Pakistan (around 10 percent) as compared to other countries in South Asia. UNDP Pakistan
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. When Dr. Mahbub Ul Haq presented the somewhat crude Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990, he was convinced that a single number, which is easily understandable, could convince policy makers, academics and politicians that GDP per capita was not a comprehensive measure of human wellbeing. Similarly, the MDGs as an agenda and framework, though a crude measure like HDI, was very simple and easy for a practitioner like me to communicate and convince stakeholders on its importance and relevance. … Read more

From neglect to respect: Changing Georgia's mental health approach

15 Sep 2015 by Lisa Lenz, Democratic governance intern, UNDP in Georgia

hospitalPsychiatric hospital in Tbilisi. Photo: Melissa Stonehill/UNDP
Visiting a psychiatric clinic can leave a lasting impression. I had the opportunity to visit a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi to meet the doctors and experts taking part in designing a national reform of mental healthcare in Georgia. The first thing I noticed was the hospital’s size. The huge concrete building looked left over from the Soviet era. Even after entering, it seemed more like an administrative center than a hospital housing more than 150 patients. … Read more

Youth: not simply human beings, but human becomings

26 Aug 2015 by Jon Hall, Policy specialist, Human Development Report Office

youth in ZambiaZambian youth at a UNDP consultation. Investment in youth and their input is crucial to long-term and sustainable development. Photo: UNDP Zambia
It is important to remember that considering development from a youth perspective is not always straightforward. Even defining exactly when someone should be considered “young” can be tricky and varies between reports. Listening to the views of young people will almost certainly require an investment of time and money, so development policies that are formulated with the input of young people will cost more to develop. But those policies will almost certainly work better and last longer, as today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders. … Read more

10 ways youth can make an impact

11 Aug 2015 by Giovanna Lucignano, Social Media intern, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

youth walkingActors participate in the Loy9 Drama in Romdoul Village, Cambodia. Television dramas, TV and radio talk shows, and online platforms encourage young Cambodians to learn, debate and share experiences on civic participation in an initiative funded by UNDP and produced by BBC Media Action. Photo: BBC Media Action
“We are addressing youth today, because youth have placed themselves on the top of the agenda.”–Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard. Here’s a list of ideas of how you can participate locally and globally: 1. Know your rights: You might not be able to vote yet, but all children and youth hold national and international rights. These rights are only of use to you if you are informed about them, so read up! … 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 macroeconomics of development financing

09 Jul 2015 by Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor, UNDP

Mean years of schooling in countries employing relaxed macroeconomic policies are 1.5 years higher than those which adopted more restrictive policies.
During the summit on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, the world community will agree to strengthen domestic resource mobilization capacity, increase the availability of external funds, reduce the cost of sending remittances and tackle illicit financial flows. However, all of these measures could be futile if countries adopt macroeconomic policies that are not developmental. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more

My voyage on the Human Development Report "Enterprise"

10 Jun 2015 by Selim Jahan, Director, Human Development Report office

Selim JahanSelim Jahan and Amartya Sen at the Human Development Report Office in the 1990s. Photo: UNDP
“It is an intellectual Enterprise,” Mahbub ul Haq, a Star Trek fan, would fondly say about the Human Development Report (HDR). The Report was his brainchild, and he was the captain of the HDR Enterprise. And it was this Enterprise’s dynamism, out-of-box thinking and intellectual courage that attracted me to it. What a journey I have had with the HDR over the last quarter of a century... … Read more

Africa: Navigating the grey scale

25 May 2015 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

woman working with fabric in BurundiTo transform economic growth into shared prosperity, African countries must boost employment creation. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi
The recent news out of Africa offers a mix of optimism and gloom, defying simple theories that the continent is either rising or hopeless. What is missing in either of these narratives is the admission that development involves a process of ebb and flow, full of progress and setbacks. … Read more

If it is not rights-based, it is not real human development

07 Apr 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York.

  In Mozambique, UNDP is putting an emphasis on human rights in its development work. Photo: UN/Mozambique
Today, as we witness widening inequalities within countries, intensifying competition around scarce natural resources, and the continued exclusion of marginalized groups, national human rights institutions are more relevant than ever. They are the cornerstones of our national systems for the promotion and protection of human rights, essential to sustaining development and successful implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. … Read more

Seven things to consider when managing non-renewable natural resources

19 Mar 2015 by Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Development

Golding mining in DRCGold mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where production is booming but many diggers live in abject poverty. Photo: Benoît Almeras-Martino/UNDP DRC
Natural resource wealth offers enormous potential for achieving development goals. But without effective management, the wealth can be squandered. UNDP works with governments, the private sector and civil society to minimize the risks associated with building an oil, gas and mineral economy and optimize the benefits. Here are seven tips on how the development impact of these finite resources can be enhanced. Know your wealth. Most of the oil, gas and mineral resources in developing countries are yet to be discovered. Consequently, foreign companies that carry out exploration activities have pertinent geological information before governments do, creating bargaining asymmetry during contract negotiations. As the African Mining Vision notes, governments need to fully know their resource wealth to be able to negotiate as equals. Establish comprehensive legal frameworks. Several contracts and mining codes have been revised in recent years, usually when governments realize, sometimes under pressure from civil society, that tax rates are low, environmental protection is weak and re-settlement schemes are inadequate. Participatory and consultative measures are indispensable when drafting key legislation. Maximize revenues for development. The income earned from taxing resource extraction can be low, first, because of weak contract negotiating capacity, and second, due to lack of transparency and … Read more