The 100 day dash for climate action

22 Aug 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

man in Guatemalan national parkA man looks out over the mountains in Parque Regional Todos Santos Cuchumatán, La Torre, Guatemala. The Environment and Poverty initiative in Guatemala is promoting the relationship between natural resource management and poverty reduction. Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti/UNDP Guatemala
Aug. 22 marks 100 days until the U.N. climate conference in Paris, France. Countries have made commitments, which give hope that an ambitious agreement may be possible. What makes an agreement ambitious? Above all, a push on all sectors and stakeholders so that development is climate-conscious and risk-informed. Development practitioners and climate experts need to work together. … Read more

Too much, too little, never enough

21 Aug 2015 by Dylan Lowthian, Communications Analyst, UNDP Media and Advocacy team

Benito VelasquezBenito Velasquez, a farmer from Torota, Bolivia, says erratic weather is affecting his crops. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP
"I beg everyone to think. It’s not just one country – we have to think about the whole world. We have to say this to our leaders.” Benito Velasquez has farmed a modest patch of land in central Bolivia all his life. “Climate change is taking place”, he says. “We have lots of work to do. Maybe in 50 years we can repair what we have destroyed. We have to repair it.” I have come to meet Benito to see firsthand how changing weather patterns are affecting Bolivian farmers. The interview is part of a visit to four countries on three continents, to document the effect climate change is having on agricultural communities. … Read more

Decoding the alphabet soup of climate change

05 Aug 2015 by Carl Mercer, Advocacy, Partnerships & Communication, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Team

 woman near waterA woman in Odisha, India on her way to fetch water. Women have been hit hardest by the extreme weather conditions. Many have to walk for long stretches in search of safe drinking water. Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNDP India
Join any conversation on climate change this year and you’re likely to hear a host of confusing terms and acronyms: INDCs, NAPs, NAMAs, the GCF, COP21. Expanding doesn’t help much: ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’, the ‘21st Conference of the Parties’ – they’re a mouthful and still not immediately clear. While this terminology was once restricted to technical reports, the terms are increasingly finding their way into newspapers, op-eds and social media. But many people don’t know what they are and insufficient attention has been paid to translating them into something accessible. … Read more

Two journeys to drive climate change action

30 Jul 2015 by Daniel Price, Climate change scientist and Founder, Pole to Paris

The weird thing about climate change is that the driving mechanism of the problem is actually very simple: you have a gas, which when put in the atmosphere traps heat and in turn changes the climate system. While we understand where the problem comes from, solving it is incredibly difficult given the complexity of global politics, the economic system, competing interests, and the capacities of countries and societies. A significant challenge around this is public engagement and the difficulty in effectively communicating the issue. Not everybody is a scientist and the cause and effect can be vague for many. But an emerging new dialogue is changing the discourse, emphasizing that climate change isn’t only an environmental issue, but an everything issue. … Read more

In adaptation, understanding economics is priceless

06 Jul 2015 by Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head of Climate Change Adaptation Programming, UNDP and Mariana Simões Technical Specialist- Adaptation, UNDP-USAID Capacity Building Programme on the Economics of Adaptation, UNDP

farmers in CambodiaIn Ou Village, Siem Reap Province villagers are trained in planting techniques and drip irrigation installation as part of a climate-proofing agricultural practices adaptation project in Cambodia. Photo: Narith Mao/UNDP Cambodia
What is the right policy or incentive to encourage climate change adaptation? One could simply pick the one that is politically expedient and implement it. If it doesn’t work, make adjustments and try again. In many instances, this is exactly how public policy is defined, despite what is in textbooks or what best practice would suggest. Clearly, this kind of reactive approach has its limits. It doesn’t necessarily result in the most economically efficient choices being made. Understanding the economics of climate change adaptation is critical. In a world with competing demands for limited resources, governments can ask critical questions to form the most efficient policy. … Read more

Wading through the facts: Lessons from the Georgia flood

01 Jul 2015 by Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Georgia

Flood recovery operations brought together the government, civil society, international organizations and volunteers. But with the sense of solidarity comes an understanding that disaster management systems must be strengthened. Photo: David Khizanishvili/UNDP
It’s still hard to believe what happened. In just four days, the death toll has reached 19 with a handful still missing, hundreds left homeless, an entire zoo simply washed away. In those first hours, I, like so many others, marvelled at the torrential rain coming down with surprising fury. Driving home through streets already beginning to flood, how could I know the devastation was already underway? … Read more

Nepal’s road to recovery is paved with collaboration

30 Jun 2015 by Naoki Nihei, UNDP-JICA/Japan Collaboration Advisor, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

tents in NepalIn a park located in a central urban area in Kathmandu, Nepal, citizens who lost their houses are living in tents provided by international assistance. Photo: Naoki Nihei/UNDP
Looking down from a plane above Kathmandu, I was not able to clearly assess the degree of damage from the 25th April earthquake. In rural areas, most of the houses were destroyed. In Kathmandu, many whose houses were affected are living in tents outside of their homes. In late May, I travelled to Kathmandu to support Japan-UNDP cooperation to help the Government of Nepal in the reconstruction planning after the devastating earthquakes. I could see the colorful tents everywhere in the city, as we flew over it. … Read more

Helen Clark welcomes Pope Francis' climate change encyclical

18 Jun 2015 by John Aravosis, Manager, Online and Digital Team, UNDP

UNDP Administrator Helen ClarkBuilding resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector is a central issue in Lao PDR, where almost a third of GDP (29.9 percent) is generated through the agriculture sector, and approximately 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. Photo: Luke McPake/UNDP Laos
Pope Francis today issued an encyclical in which he called climate change a “principal challenge” for humanity. In the 184-page letter, Pope Francis noted that the poor are the most vulnerable to climate change, and the Pontiff urged that “swift action” be taken to “confront the crisis.” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark praised the Pope’s climate message. … Read more

Why rice farmers are key to tackling climate change in the Philippines

17 Jun 2015 by Alexandra Soezer, MDG Carbon Project Manager, UNDP

rice paddyIn the Philippines, rice is the most important crop and its agriculture represents 11% of the growing GDP of the country.
When I began supporting the Philippines Programme for rice cultivation, I saw it through the lens of climate change mitigation. The logic was, if we made some necessary improvements to cultivation methods, we could reduce greenhouse gas emission (GGE) and help mitigate climate change. This is especially important in a country where 29 percent of the GGEs come from rice cultivation. However, I quickly learned was that although you might be driven and committed to work towards reducing global warming, it does not necessarily lead to the critical buy-in of stakeholders like the Department of Agriculture, the National Irrigation Administration, and farmers. … Read more

Costing crises and pricing risk: delivering on ‘sustainability’

15 Jun 2015 by Jan Kellett, Advisor Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

Ebola worker in Sierra LeoneThe cost to the Ebola-affected countries has been pitched at US$1.6 billion, equivalent to 12% of their combined GDP. Photo: UNDP in Sierra Leone
Earthquakes. Cyclones. Drought. Conflict. The Ebola outbreak. Oil price collapses. Shocks and stresses of different kinds strain countries, communities and families and set back development, sometimes for decades. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues. … Read more