Closing the Gap: Delivering impact for gender equality in Europe and Central Asia

Participants practice bending cuprum pipe for do-it-yourself solar water heaters during a workshop in Jilikul, Tajikistan. UNDP Photo

In Namangan in Uzbekistan, a long-standing dream for a crafts centre came true. In Misi village in Turkey, a silk unit for niche products, another dream child of a group of women, is having a fourth year of success, against all odds. In Jilkul village in Tajikistan, another group of women have gained more income and more time for their families by learning to set up solar water heaters.

These are some ways in which UNDP is supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Europe and Central Asia region.... Read more

Learning from adaptation experience means breaking down the context

In Tarrafal, Cabo Verde, Ms. Maria “Katy” Zaidy Soares Barbosa is one of the farmers working with extension workers to apply the agricultural research. Photo: UNDP/Jennifer Baumwoll

In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December.

When it comes to climate change adaptation, it is often said that we must identify the lessons learned and share these lessons with other practitioners. Given the enormous challenge posed by climate change, we must constantly ask ourselves: how can we replicate or scale up what works?... Read more

An AIDS-free generation was simply unimaginable

In 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

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

Zambian 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"

"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

The 100 day dash for climate action

A 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

Benito 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

Africa, midway through its "Glorious Thirty"

Africa's economic prospects are bright, but the continent loses about 4 percent of its GDP each year due to the exclusion of women from business and politics. Photo: Aziza Bangwene/UNDP in DRC

Sub-Saharan Africa is the only place in the world where living standards stagnated and even declined throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

But things are now very different. Africa’s prospects began to change radically in the late 1990s, with its growth rate close to five percent per year ever since.

Africa has made concomitant gains in the social sphere. It has made remarkable progress on primary education, child mortality, slowing down HIV and Aids or increasing the numbers of women in parliament.... Read more

How will we ensure the new Ebola vaccine reaches those most in need?

Community participation in immunization programmes results in higher coverage and reduces the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases. Photo: UNDP Liberia

We are optimistic about a new tool in the fight against Ebola. The phase III trials on efficacy of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine have yielded an impressive result in a relatively short time - 100% effectiveness in those receiving the vaccine.

Without a doubt, this is an important tool for the protection of health and community workers and possibly the wider community.

But how will this new tool be used? How will it reach those in need? ... Read more