2030 Agenda: Recognition for indigenous peoples, a challenge for governments

09 Aug 2016 by Álvaro Pop, Chairperson, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

A delegate speaks at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. To achieve the 2030 Agenda, indigenous peoples must have a seat at the table. UN Photo
We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without recognizing that we live in multicultural societies. With this in mind, upholding the rights of indigenous peoples becomes a necessary imperative. Respect for indigenous peoples’ rights opens the door to enormous opportunities for advancing the SDGs. Their capacity to further develop their own systems of education, health, justice and traditional food will strengthen each country’s efforts and investments. There are more than 300 million indigenous people in the world, speaking more than five thousand languages and keeping their heritage alive. This is the true wealth of humankind. … Read more

Our future is in cities: Add your voice and help shape a new urban agenda

25 Jul 2016 by By Joseph D’Cruz, Urbanization Global Task Team Lead, UNDP

Our future is in citiesMost young people in Mongolia will grow up in cities such as Ulaanbaatar. Photo: Joseph D'Cruz
I first visited Mongolia in 2005. Like most people, I pictured it as a country of nomadic horse riders herding livestock across the vast steppes. I was surprised to learn that almost three-quarters of Mongolians now live in cities and towns - with more than half the population in the capital Ulaanbaatar alone. In 1960, only 35 percent of Mongolians were urban, but that proportion has doubled in the last half-century. A similar transformation is happening in developing countries all around the world. Millions of rural dwellers are migrating to cities and towns, drawn by the prospect of better lives - or driven by poverty, conflict and natural disasters. Cities and towns are growing fast, swallowing surrounding countryside and transforming nearby villages into suburbs. This process is called urbanization, and it is one of the biggest stories in development today. … 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

Social protection renews optimism for sustainable development

22 Jun 2016 by Romulo Paes de Sousa, Director of the UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre) and Lebogang Motlana, Director of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa

Worker at the Warrap State Hospital, South Sudan. Photo: UN/JC Mcllwaine
The media often supplements talks of the Global South with illustrations of humanitarian tragedies and persistent development bottlenecks. This traditional news coverage overlooks, however, a very positive and impactful transformation taking place in Africa and the bigger South: the impressive growth in social protection systems, the establishment of new foundations for advancing sustainable development and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Social protection programmes are among the most successful development experiences the world has seen in recent years. They have proven to be key in developing countries' efforts to fight poverty … Read more

A new Global Alliance to 'think urban' in humanitarian response

03 Jun 2016 by Amy Gill, Local Governance Specialist, Responsive and Accountable Institutions Team, UNDP

Downtown Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Habitat
The humanitarian situation is changing. There are now more refugees and internally displaced persons than at any time since the end of the Second World War and 60 percent of these are in urban areas. We need to ‘think urban’ when we design our responses to these increasing crises. Rapid and poorly planned urbanization is driving vulnerability in towns and cities around the world. Humanitarian emergencies are increasingly occurring in towns and cities. Responding to this reality requires new ways of working. Major international humanitarian responses are often not closely tied to local municipal actors that understand their communities’ ongoing needs. … 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

Migrants mean business

09 May 2016 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Well-managed migration contributes to preventing crisis and supports achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: UNDP FYR of Macedonia
Human mobility is inevitable and unstoppable. It is also on the rise. People are moving to increase their income, study, join other family members or flee persecution, wars, violence, natural disasters and dire poverty. People have always moved. Globalization has made population movements faster, better-informed and more voluminous. Wrong policies have also made them less safe, if not outright perilous. 3.3 percent of the world’s population lives outside their country of origin, and this number is growing. Population growth, violent conflicts, climate change and other factors are driving more and more people to move within and between countries. While we cannot prevent human migration, and why would we, it is possible to make population movements safer through the adoption and implementation of effective migration regimes—the right set of institutions, laws and policies—that also generate multiple and sustainable development benefits. … Read more

Predicting future impacts on SDGs in Brazil’s uncertain times

05 May 2016 by Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist, Sustainable Development Goals, UNDP Rio+Centre

In Brazil, social programmes have had an impact on eliminating disease. Photo: Tiago Zenero/UNDP Brazil
Bolsa Familia, Brazil’s highly acclaimed conditional cash transfer programme has been an inspiration to many developing countries. But today, in the midst of the country’s worst political and economic crisis in decades, the future of this social protection system is becoming less certain. The programme’s successes are well-known. It has helped to nearly eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality across the country. It has increased school attendance, reduced infant mortality and improved public health. It is a powerful force for women’s empowerment, with targeted benefits for pregnant and nursing women; 93 percent of card holders are women. … Read more

Why the last 50 years are key for the next 15

16 Mar 2016 by Jessica Faieta, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

The next 15 yearsAchieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean will mean reaching out to the most disadvantaged groups, including indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, women and youth. Photo: UNDP Guatemala
Of the five decades that UNDP celebrates this year, I have lived half of them in the organization, in different roles. Our story began focusing on world poverty, on the most at-need women and men in the post-colonial era, with the emergence of new, independent countries beginning to trace their own paths to prosperity. In Latin America and the Caribbean we have supported many countries in their transition to democracy, also in various national truth and justice commissions and strengthening institutional capacities. Our partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector has also been crucial to innovative public policies and job creation initiatives that have helped improve the lives of millions of people. Looking back 50 years, the concept of development has shifted. … Read more

The return of the Eastern European middle class

17 Feb 2016

Nino Narmania in a tailoring workshopNino Narmania in a tailoring workshop, part of the practical training put in place through an overhaul of Georgia's professional education system. (Photo: UNDP/Daro Sulakauri)
The headlines emerging from Davos this year show that concerns about inequalities are continuing to grow. According to Oxfam's latest report, the billionaires that are as rich as half of humanity can now fit on a bus. In 2010 they would have required a Boeing. But the picture is in many ways much more complex. Take the region I cover: Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Central Asia. The initial results of a new UNDP report show that over the past twelve years, the number of people earning 10 to 50 dollars per day has tripled from 33 to 90 million. … Read more