Cyclone Roanu is a reminder: We must focus on preventing crises, even as we respond to them

24 May 2016 by Khurshid Alam, Assistant Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh

As leaders gather for the World Humanitarian Summit, Cyclone Roanu has displaced half a million people in Bangladesh. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh
As the World Humanitarian Summit unfolds and leaders discuss the humanitarian impact of rising crises and disasters, half a million people are currently displaced in Bangladesh. Cyclone Roanu pummeled the Bangladesh coastline on 21 May with 55mph winds and floodwaters several feet high. Making landfall in the country’s southeast, the cyclone brought devastation to areas unaffected by cyclones for the past 25 years. Where there used to be crops there is now salt water – the sea surrounding even the cyclone shelter. … Read more

The Goldilocks of gender data: Searching for “just right” on women in public institutions

03 May 2016 by Müge Finkel, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh , Melanie Hughes, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh and Jose Cruz-Osorio, Team Leader, Responsive and Accountable Institutions, UNDP

Civil service workshop in AzerbaijanEnsuring gender equality in public institutions starts with gathering strong data. Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan
The bad news first: we don’t know the exact state of gender equality in the world’s public institutions. The good news: once we begin monitoring this, it will be harder to ignore inequalities in the public service, which we anecdotally know exist on a global scale. The Sustainable Development Goals have thrust us into a data revolution and we have impetus to make sure it is a gendered revolution. Inclusive governance is at the core of SDG 16 on peaceful and just societies. And so, SDG 16 has set out to measure the composition of public institutions. Without this information, governments will not have the evidence necessary for designing policies that foster equal access to and opportunities within public administration. … Read more

Hope for people living with HIV in post-earthquake Nepal

24 Apr 2016 by Bharat Man Shrestha, Former LGBT Human Rights, HIV and Law Officer, UNDP Nepal

Binod Kumar Tamang is receiving health care service at Trishuli Plus, Nuwakot. Photo: UNDP Nepal
A year ago, 20-year old Binod Kumar Tamang found out he was infected with HIV. He lives with his mother in Nuwakot district in the central region of Nepal. When Binod tested positive for HIV, one of the hospital’s staff introduced him to Trishuli Plus, a community-based organization that also serves as a community crisis center. It was established to provide HIV-related health services, support and home-based care for people living with HIV in the district and the surrounding areas. Binod started going to the clinic for treatment and support. After the earthquake struck Nepal last April, Nuwakot district was one of the hardest hit regions. Hospitals and community care centers were among the most affected facilities and many were destroyed. The provision of health services was disrupted, leaving people in need of basic supplies and treatment. … Read more

Protecting (scarce) fresh water in the Maldives

15 Apr 2016 by Keti Chachibaia, Regional Technical Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub

man and desalination plantA local Feneka operator stands in front of the desalinization system. Photo: Keti Chachibaia/UNDP Maldives
Water is a big deal in the Maldives. The archipelago nation of 300,000 people is more water than land. But while abundant in ocean resources, the only freshwater is rainwater that is harvested in special collection tanks. But poor rainfall leaves groundwater tables low and harvesting tanks half empty. This leaves many people and communities straining resources to buy bottled water or struggling to get by. A naturally vulnerable situation is only being exacerbated by climate change, as monsoonal cycles and associated rainfall patterns shift over the Indian Ocean. Greater variations are already occurring and the Maldivians, especially in the Northern atolls, experience longer-than-usual dry seasons. As a result, the National Disaster Management Centre is regularly called upon to deliver emergency water. … Read more

Make it your business: 7 steps to make your business and community better

14 Apr 2016 by Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea and Assel Tleof, Communications Specialist at UNDP Papua New Guinea

people in trainingNational stakeholders receive expert training to promote sustainable development in Papua New Guinea. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea
2016 is a momentous year for change worldwide. It can be pivotal year for us to turn the tide and act on the major social, economic and environmental issues we face. As leaders in business, how can companies best contribute to positive social impact and help countries achieve development? The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be a starting point. Businesses around the world are already starting to focus on the SDGs that are most relevant to their businesses goals and embedding them in their operations. And they are finding it to be commercially beneficial. So as a business leader, where might you begin? … Read more

How abnormal is normal?

01 Mar 2016 by Bakhodir Burkhanov, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Viet Nam

woman on motorbikeA woman carrys kids on her motorbikes through the street of Viet Nam. It’s a common rush-hour scene, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam
Women zip through the streets, carrying kids and groceries on their motorbikes. It’s a common rush-hour scene on the streets of Viet Nam, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Existing stereotypes in Viet Nam confine women and men to certain roles, positions and careers. According to a UNDP report on women’s leadership in Viet Nam, few women achieve senior government positions. In the civil service, women hold very few senior posts: only nine percent ministers, eight percent vice ministers, and seven percent at director-general level. … Read more

A new, ambitious vision requires new, ambitious ways of working

14 Jan 2016 by Rosemary Kalapurakal, Incoming UNDP Lead Advisor on the 2030 Agenda, UNDP

people in train stationIndian Railways is the single largest consumer of electricity in India, consuming 17.5 billion units a year. As track and passengers continue to grow, being more energy efficient, and exploring clean sources of energy is central to the Railways vision for the future. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/UNDP India
31 December 2015: During a visit to Kerala, India, I drive past gleaming malls and the skeleton of a new metro in a hometown virtually unrecognizable from my childhood. But I also see stubborn challenges, like the very poor left behind in this economy and the deteriorating quality of air and food. 1 January 2016: A new year begins, with a new era in the quest to combat poverty, inequality, and climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come into force, part of a “2030 Agenda” for the next 15 years, to achieve development where progress in one sector is not at the expense of another, where present gains do not threaten that of future generations. … Read more

Unlocking the potential of youth

07 Jan 2016 by Fadhil Bakeer Markar, Communications Team Lead and Youth Focal Point, UNDP Sri Lanka

kids jumpingYouth participants of UNDP Sri Lanka’s Twinning Schools Programme caught in action whilst doing a music video for the song 'Colours'. Photo: UNDP Sri Lanka
“Children and youth deserve a better future in their own country, not necessarily somewhere else. It is the responsibility of the adults not just to bring children to this world but contribute to creating a socio-political environment that is conducive for their advancement and well-being.” - Professor Siri Hettige, a senior sociology academic at the University of Colombo. We’ve heard the call for more opportunities for young people, the need to engage with them, and the responsibility of adults and institutions. But to me, Hettige misses a key point: the central role of youth themselves in shaping their own present and future. … Read more

Saving for a rainy day

02 Dec 2015 by Yusuke Taishi, Regional Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP - Global Environment Finance Unit, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

people sitting around tableOne of the first farmers who received a WIBI payout for low rainfall in Tacunan, Tugbok District. Photo: UNDP Philippines
“Save for a rainy day” is probably the single most important piece of wisdom a farmer can follow. Farming is a risky undertaking everywhere, one that is at the mercy of capricious weather. But farmers in the Philippines (and many other developing countries) now face additional difficulties as climate change makes weather more unpredictable than ever. Traditional approaches to predicting the arrival of the rains are becoming less and less effective, with rain sometimes falling too sparsely and other times too hard. Crop insurance is a common safeguard. In the United States, 90 percent of total harvested cropland is insured. But in the Philippines, crop insurance products cover less than 10 percent of total rice and corn production. Moreover, insurance in the Philippines is “indemnity-based”, which means that the damage needs to be verified by an insurance agent and payouts typically take up to six months. … Read more

With improvements, biomass can contribute further to combatting climate change

13 Nov 2015 by By Butchaiah Gadde, Regional Technical Specialist for Global Environmental Finance and Srinivas Shroff Nagesha Rao, Programme Analyst, UNDP India

biomassWorkers process biomass at a decentralized biomass collection centre. Photo: UNDP India
As demand for biomass energy continues to increase, the challenge is to help these plants supply and use the biomass in a sustainable fashion. Our work at UNDP focuses on doing exactly that. “Biomass” is any organic material that is derived from plants, animals or agricultural waste. Across the world, biomass play a key role in meeting daily energy demands. In fact, 80 percent of all heating is powered by biomass. Here in India, 66 percent of the population, some 815 million people, rely on traditional biomass for cooking. Since 2000, the number of biomass-fueled power plants has mushroomed throughout Indian states. … Read more