Migrants and refugees: A global problem or a local solution?

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

A family of 10 flees the besieged city of Yabrud, Syria in Februray 2014. Six hours later, they crossed the border into Arsal, Lebanon. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell.
This week, the world’s governments will come together at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to debate the crisis and response to large movements of migrants and refugees. The concept of “root causes” has been often cited in draft resolutions and speeches. It boils down to the fears and threats people are running away from, leaving behind their homes and countries. Conflict, climate shocks and lack of opportunity, repression and violation of rights, extremism and widespread poverty top the list of development failures that produce forced displacements. Successful development appears as one of the clearest solutions. Development policies need to adequately integrate and consider migration and displacement. … Read more

Social Good Summit: From an idea among friends to a global movement

16 Sep 2016 by Boaz Paldi, Engagement Manager, UNDP

SGS ChinaThe Social Good Summit brings together global leaders, technology experts and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. UNDP photo
When a group of inspired citizens got together seven years ago, asking themselves the question “what if we could have an open, transparent gathering, during UN Week – a real Peoples' Summit?” they could not have possibly imagined where the answer to that question would lead them. I was lucky enough to be present to witness the start of this global movement and have seen it grow over the past seven years. It has been quite a ride, to say the least. We saw US ex-presidents, current vice-presidents, rock stars, scientists, global grassroots leaders. We saw new inventions and innovations for social impact. We saw a worldwide conversation with millions of participants and billions of messages. The list goes on and on. … Read more

Rethinking the way the world deals with refugees

14 Sep 2016 by Cihan Sultanoğlu, Director, Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia

Photo Syrian refugee Sfook Ali AlhelalSyrian refugee Sfook Ali Alhelal sits with one of his two wives and their five children in a two-room apartment in Amman, Jordan. They fear being evicted because they are struggling to pay the rent. Photo: Freya Morales/UNDP
A year ago, masses of people fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan began to stream through the western Balkans on their way to northern Europe. Like anyone following the news closely, I was deeply moved by the chaotic scenes of crowded fields and train stations. A year on, these images have all but disappeared, but the numbers are telling a very different story. According to the International Organization for Migration, by July this year arrivals were up 17% compared with arrivals during the first seven months last year, many of them arriving through Italy and Greece. Europe’s migration crisis is showing no signs of abating. That’s because the crises fueling it are intensifying, uprooting ever growing numbers from their homes. It doesn’t help that refugees are being quarantined or spurned in many places where they set foot. Those kind of measures create even more poverty and despair among already traumatized people. … Read more

Making natural resource revenue sharing work

10 Sep 2016 by Andrew Bauer, Senior Economic Analyst, Natural Resource Governance Institute , Uyanga Gankhuyag, Economist, UNDP and Sofi Halling, Policy Analyst, Extractive Industries, UNDP

Revenue sharing systems can compensate producing regions for environmental damage associated with mineral extraction. Photo: UNDP
Despite a peace agreement signed last year, Libya remains embroiled in violent conflict. At the heart of the conflict is oil, which accounts for more than 90 percent of government revenue. The vast majority is produced in the country’s east and south, while the commercial and administrative capital, Tripoli, is in the west. Just like in other parts of the world suffering from natural resource-fueled conflicts, disagreements over how national and subnational authorities should share the revenues from non-renewable resources are threatening the nation’s stability and future. Natural resource revenue sharing—the legal right of different regions to either directly collect some taxes from oil or mining companies or for the central government to distribute resource revenues to different regions according to a formula—has been proposed as one means of ending the Libyan war. Beyond their potential for bringing peace, revenue sharing systems can compensate producing regions for environmental damage and loss of livelihoods associated with oil, gas and mineral extraction. They can also serve as an acknowledgement of local claims over resource wealth, even in regions without conflict. … Read more

Taking action on #2030Now: Global Goals design jams coming to you!

09 Sep 2016 by Simon van Woerden, Creative Communications and Partnerships, UNDP

Important progress has been achieved since the launch of the Global Goals one year ago. UNDP photo
It has been almost a year since the 2015 Social Good Summit and the spectacular launch of the Global Goals. Since then we have taken important first steps on the road to 2030 - the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We have told friends, family and the world about what the 17 Goals are. We have shown the world why the Global Goals are the most important agenda for people and planet. And together we have pushed and helped governments to create concrete plans of action. In just a short time, we will again come together for the biggest event of the year at the 2016 Social Good Summit. It's time to get ready for a fresh round of inspiring conversations on technology, innovation and new media. Conversations on how we use those tools to create the 2030 we want, now. As this year's theme says: "Connecting Today. Creating Tomorrow." … Read more

The time is now for collective action on migration and displacement

01 Sep 2016 by Owen Shumba, Team Leader, Livelihoods and Economic Recovery

The world counts over 40 million internally displaced people and over 25 million refugees. Photo: UNDP
Migration. Refugees. Internally Displaced Persons. Migrants. Immigrants. Asylum seekers. Host communities. These have become familiar words in our language. Familiar tools in our politics. Yet for millions of people it is a lived experience of human development, responsibility, human tragedy, poverty, conflict, missed opportunities, and more. Left unattended it will devastate future generations. The coming decade will test our resolve to end hunger, poverty, conflicts, reduce disaster risks as well as build lasting peace. The 2030 Agenda has created a foundation for the global community to succeed in this endeavour … Read more

El Nino happens every 3-7 years. How can Africa be better prepared?

31 Aug 2016 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, UNDP Africa

A farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAO
Some 60 million people’s lives have been affected by the 2015-2016 El Niño phenomenon in the Horn and Southern Africa. It was the strongest El Niño since 1950. Severe droughts have led to crop failure and food insecurity, massive livestock and wildlife deaths and loss of livelihoods. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have all declared drought emergencies. In South Africa, only one province, Gauteng, has been spared the emergency. A total of 40 million people, or 22 percent of Southern Africa’s rural population, became food insecure. About 23 million of them needed immediate humanitarian assistance at a cost of US$2.7 billion. … Read more

African countries need institutions that will direct investment to where it is needed most

29 Aug 2016 by Andrew Chipwende, CEO, Industrial Development Corporation, Zambia

Lusaka, Zambia. Zambia underwent major structural reforms in recent years to attract investment.
International investment has helped Zambia, like many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, become more integrated into the global economy over recent years. Inward investment flows have doubled since 2008 and Zambia has even started to generate some modest foreign direct investment outflows. Although the country has undertaken major structural reforms over the past two decades to make it a more attractive location for investment, the Zambian government realised that this was not enough. Research has shown that foreign direct investment in mining remains dominant, although flows to manufacturing and services have also shown an upward trend. … Read more

Unleashing the entrepreneur spirit for economic growth in Jordan: Let me count the ways

24 Aug 2016 by Jennifer Colville, Team Leader, Innovation, UNDP Arab States

UNDP sees entrepreneurship as a central driver of economic stability and supports initiatives that tap into local skills. Photo: UNDP Jordan
There's nothing quite like having a bunch of entrepreneurs in the same room to generate off-the-charts energy and inspiration for economic development and social progress. I was fortunate to host a social innovation workshop in Amman, Jordan, with a collection of business starters and supporters to generate ideas for strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem in the country. The workshop was held on the occasion of the visit to Jordan of the UN Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC), a group of eight luminaries from around the world who support those creative and bold enough to start new businesses. The Council, chaired by Ashish Thakkar, was in Jordan … Read more

Acting on climate change requires ‘boots on the ground’

22 Aug 2016 by Jazmin Burgess, Global Coordinator, Boots on the Ground, UNDP

Years of changing seasons can wipe out food and water supplies for decades. Photo: UNDP
Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are on the frontlines of climate change. With populations often heavily reliant on climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry to drive their economies, the impacts of climate change are amplified. One erratic storm or years of changing growing seasons can wipe out food and water supplies for years or decades. This has immense social and economic impacts that reduce opportunities, reinforce inequalities and potentially reverse progress toward reducing poverty. Charting a development path that integrates climate change action is therefore essential for true sustainable development and that requires direct capacity-building. … Read more