End impunity for corruption to boost resources for development

23 Sep 2015 by Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Anti-corruption protestActivists attend a rally for International Anti-Corruption Day in Bangkok. Photo: UNDP Thailand
Ending impunity was the main topic at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference that took place this month in Malaysia. Most topics discussed at the conference resonated well with the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16 on building peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Goal 16 is a victory for the anti-corruption movement as for the first time, the development agenda makes an explicit link between good governance and fighting corruption and peace, justice and inclusive development. … Read more

Using ancient traditions to break new economic ground

21 Sep 2015 by Tashi Dorji, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Portfolio Manager, UNDP in Bhutan

group of farmers in BhutanThe farmers' group ‘Dangdung Menrig Tshogpa’ participates in an awareness programme on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework in Bhutan. Photo: UNDP Bhutan
Here in Bhutan, the people of Namther and Dangdung communities have been collecting 47 different varieties of medicinal plants. After more than 50 years of collecting plants and making traditional medicine, the villagers have found another way to reap the benefits of biological resources to enhance their livelihoods. With support from UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and Japan’s Nagoya Protocol, the communities have taken a giant leap from collecting traditional medicine plants for personal use to providing resources for commercial products. For communities whose livelihoods primarily depend on seasonal subsistence farming, using biological resources helps them fill in the deficit. … Read more

Amidst crisis, helping mothers and newborn to embrace life

15 Sep 2015 by Rasha Al-Shargabi, Field Manager, Youth Economic Empowerment Programme, UNDP in Yemen

two Yemeni womenA future midwife is training in filling out assessment forms as part of a national midwife association training on community mapping. Photo: Rasha Alshargabi/UNDP Yemen
Four-year-old Mohammed caught my eye with his naughty looks and the great amount of happiness housed his little body. I was amused watching him play with other children in the open ground in his village in Alsilw district, Taizz. Only later did I learn that his mother died during labor due to a lack of health care services. I thought of how the world would be for a little child without a mother nurturing him. … Read more

Making education the gateway in Tanzania's growth

15 Sep 2015 by Amarakoon Bandara, Economic Advisor, UNDP in Zimbabwe

kids sit in circleConsultative process in Tanzania on post-2015 with young people while filming the documentary ‘Listen to Us’. Photo: UNFPA
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. With a per capita income of just around $310 in 2000, Tanzania’s march towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was a remarkable story – a very poor country putting so much effort into so many areas. Tanzania won’t achieve most of the goals, but the efforts it has made are noteworthy. One goal that stands out is the MDG 2: to achieve universal primary education by 2015. … Read more

Protecting and ensuring space for civil society

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

 For an individual to fully belong to and be recognized in society they must have the most basic legal documentation to which they are entitled by law. Sri Lankans register for birth certificates and National Identiy Cards (NIC) at a mobile legal aid clinic. Photo: UNDP in Sri Lanka
This year’s theme for the International Day of Democracy, “Making Space for Civil Society”, is extremely timely. Reports by many civil society organisations and networks – many of which are echoed in the recently released State of Civil Society Report 2015 by CIVICUS – point to the worrying number of at least 96 countries where serious threats to civic freedoms were reported in 2014. The scale and the depth of these threats is of great concern. I agree with UNDP’s Civil Society Advisory Committee, whose “first and foremost concern is the shrinking legal, policy and participatory space for civil society activists and organizations, in an increasing number of countries across regions and political regimes.” While it was once true that countries in crisis and post-conflict periods are the ones where civil societies have been most at risk, we now see similar threats spreading across a range of development contexts. … Read more

How do we communicate development goals?

08 Sep 2015 by Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

women in NepalIn Nepal, the Interim Constitution of 2007 requires that political parties ensure that women constitute at least one-third of their total representation in parliament. The constituent assembly, in office between 2008 and May 2012, comprised 32.8 percent women. Photo: UNDP in Nepal
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. As a communicator, it has been both extremely exciting and a challenging journey to be a part of the Millennium Development Goals era at UNDP. Things were not that simple back in 2001 when we had to explain to our country partners what MDGs were all about and what our role was in it. At the time, I had just started working as the Communications Officer for UNDP in Nepal, where we desperately tried to introduce the MDGs to the NGOs, media, and the general public. … Read more

An AIDS-free generation was simply unimaginable

01 Sep 2015 by Kazuyuki Uji, Policy Specialist, HIV, Health and Inclusive Development, Bangkok Regional Hub, UNDP

community activistsIn Asia, the community of people living with HIV contributed to achieving the MDG 6 targets of halting and reversing the spread of HIV and putting 15 million people on HIV treatment by 2015. Photo: UNDP/Kazuyuki Uji
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. On 14 July 2015, the UN Secretary General made a historical announcement: “Together, we have achieved and exceeded the AIDS-related targets of Millennium Development Goal 6... [W]e are on our way to an AIDS-free generation.” This was simply unimaginable around the period I joined UNDP in early 2000’s when HIV was still thriving in Asia and HIV treatment was a luxury for the privileged few. … Read more

To promote women’s leadership in the public sector, we need better data

28 Aug 2015 by By Ciara Lee, Consultant, Gender Equality in Public Administration, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Civil service support officers provide on-the-job training to their South Sudanese counterparts as part of a UNDP governance project. Photo: Brian Sokol/UNDP South Sudan
Public administration is the foundation of government and a major employer in most countries. As such, women’s participation in the civil service is vital for their economic empowerment as well as for improving the responsiveness and effectiveness of public services. While some progress has been achieved in terms of women’s political leadership, verifiable data on women’s participation in public administration is lacking. In response to this, UNDP launched the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative. … 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

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