Here's to being called Ms. Cookstove for years to come

11 Dec 2015 by Kidanua Abera, Programme Analyst, Energy and Low Carbon Development, UNDP

Members of the Ethiopian government look at cookstove technology on a UNDP-supported experience sharing visit to India. Photo: UNDP Ethiopia
For the past few years, I’ve proudly been referred to in our office as ‘Ms. Cookstove’. I joined UNDP to work on the carbon market, specifically the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) capacity building programme for Eastern and Southern Africa. When people talk about international carbon trading, they usually talk about ‘big’ emitting industries. But in 2010, I learned about the importance of seemingly ‘small’ but equally devastating emitters such as the traditional three-stone open fire cooking method, used by the majority of rural households in Ethiopia. Three billion people across the world use this method of cooking, which not only contributes to serious health problems, but also contributes significant levels of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. … Read more

Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.

10 Dec 2015 by Alejandro Alvarez, Team Leader for Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights at UNDP

Eleanor RooseveltMrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster in English. [November 1949] Photo: UN Photo
In celebrating 2015 International Human Rights Day, we are invited to reflect on the importance of the freedoms we enjoy and to recommit to supporting the fundamental freedoms of all. UNDP’s work is based on the belief that people experience poverty, deprivation or exclusion not only as a lack of income but also as a lack of education or health care or a lack of dignity and participation in their community. These dimensions of peoples’ lives have been considered so important by governments all around the world that they have recognized them as entitlements, as human rights, both in national and in international law. … Read more

When people are counted, no one is left behind

10 Dec 2015 by Clifton Cortez, Team Leader, Gender, Key Populations, and LGBTI – HIV, Health and Development Group, UNDP

LGBTI inclusion infographicClick the picture to see the full infographic.
In September 2015, a multi-sectoral group of experts met in New York from all over the world. Despite varied perspectives, each had previously been involved in some aspect of LGBTI data work or were experts in data measurement. Their goal was to reach consensus on a definition of LGBTI inclusion and provide advice on what was necessary to measure it. In September 2015, the Nepal Constituent Assembly approved a new Constitution that includes provisions protecting the rights of sexual and gender minorities. This would never have happened without the advocacy of LGBT leaders, community activists, and allies and their efforts highlighting data, including violence against transgender people. … Read more

When home is no longer safe: Reporting human rights abuses in Yemen

10 Dec 2015 by Dina El-Mamoun, Chief Technical Advisor, Support to Human Rights Project, UNDP Yemen

A boy in stands near rubble from the conflict in Yemen.UNDP is training NGOs in Yemen to document and report on human rights abuses during the conflict and to provide support to victims. Photo: Ehab Al-Absi/UNDP Yemen
"So close to dying”. This is how Hanan describes events earlier this year, when forces surrounded and stormed her home in Khur Maksar District, Aden, where she lived with her husband, 4-year-old child and niece, aged 16. Later Hanan and her family fled their home due to shelling and because of gas, electricity and water shortages. In this sense, their suffering is typical of stories told by Yemenis throughout the country who describe human rights violations at the hands of the parties to the conflict, which began in March 2015. … Read more

Fighting corruption in infrastructure – a must for achieving the 2030 Agenda

09 Dec 2015 by Patrick Keuleers, Director of Governance and Peacebuilding, UNDP

construction in South SudanWorkers rebuild damaged roads in South Sudan. Quality infrastructure provides a foundation for progress on the sustainable development agenda. UNDP photo.
In September 2015, world leaders from 193 UN member states gathered in New York to adopt the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To achieve this universal agenda, we’ll need robust and transparent investment in infrastructure to lay the physical foundations for progress on many of the goals. Agenda 2030 aims for a world that is profoundly different from the one we know today: free from poverty, environmentally secure for future generations, prosperous, more equal, just, peaceful and inclusive, and better governed. Corruption in the infrastructure sector represents a major threat to this vision. … Read more

The SDGs need a new measure of GDP

08 Dec 2015 by Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Development, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

GDP per capita growth can go up while household income decreases. Inequality is an outcome of such divergence. Photo : UNDP in Zimbabwe
One of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is achieving economic growth. The target of goal 8 is to achieve “at least 7 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth per annum in the least developed countries”. Achieving 7 per cent growth is in the high range. In a rush to meet such a target, social and environmental outcomes may be compromised. … Read more

Ending violence against women: 3 ways to innovate

07 Dec 2015 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

Egyptian women participate in the "Reporting on Violence Against Women Innovation Camp" to share ideas on how to report violence against women. The camp was supported by UNDP, The National Council for Women, and Vodafone Egypt. Photo: Ezzat/UNDP Egypt
The status quo is unacceptable. Globally, one out of three women experiences violence in her lifetime. Both the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Humanitarian Summit Report call for innovation to end this global pandemic. Given the complexity of gender-based violence (GBV) and its main underlying cause of persisting gender inequalities - how can development and humanitarian actors innovate? As a starter, let’s put the emphasis on the changes we want to achieve and not the “solutions” we create. … Read more

From Paris to your hometown: Climate action is going local

04 Dec 2015

Tree plantingFrom planting trees to buying sustainably-sourced products, local action will determine the success of the global climate agreement. Photo: Riccardo Gangale/UN
Over recent years, climate negotiations have gotten more and more complex. With 193 countries bringing competing interests to the table, perhaps that’s not surprising. Negotiators are taking a bottom-up approach, with individual countries coming to the table to declare what they are prepared to do nationally to advance internationally agreed upon goals. Such is the template for the COP21 climate change conference, taking place from 30 November through 11 December in Paris. These are likely the most important climate negotiations the world has ever seen. … Read more

The ripple effect of volunteering for planet and people

04 Dec 2015 by Jennifer Stapper, Chief, Communications, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme

youth planting treesStudents were mobilized to plant trees as part of education on sustainable agricultural practices from the Asia Youth Volunteer Exchange Programme in partnership with UNDP and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Photo: UNV Zambia
What role can volunteerism play in the future of planet and people? Now that the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been adopted, we at United Nations Volunteers (UNV) are trying to gauge how our work can contribute to advancing those goals. As the world turns its attention to climate change, how can we be a part of the solution? UN Volunteers will be part of implementing practical and concrete tools to combat climate change. They will be the ones observing the tactics that work well on the ground and deciding whether these can be passed on across cultures. … Read more

Sustainable development includes people of all abilities

03 Dec 2015 by Sarah Rattray, Global Policy Specialist for Human Rights, UNDP

A young boy draws on a mural to commemorate International Children's Day in Cambodia. Photo: Bona Khoy/UNICEF Cambodia).
The 2015 International Day of Persons with Disabilities highlights that inclusion matters and emphasizes the critical importance of access and empowerment for people of all abilities to participate in public life. Today persons with disabilities constitute approximately 15 percent of the global population, and more than 80 percent of them live in developing countries. Still they encounter discrimination and obstacles in accessing the labour market, transportation, education and health services, and face a very high risk of falling into poverty. … Read more