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

Ending AIDS: it takes more than two and a half men

01 Dec 2015 by Ludo Bok, Team leader, Development effectiveness, HIV, Health & Development Group, UNDP

two men setting up AIDS candlesThe All Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV lay out candles during a World AIDS day commemoration. Photo: UNDP
The media has gone crazy over the disclosure of the HIV status of one of America's most controversial stars, Charlie Sheen. Much of the reporting has been sensationalist, focusing on his multiple marriages and struggles with substance abuse. The majority of it has been dominated by prejudice and moral finger-wagging. Social media went into overdrive, as #Charliesheen trended around the world. Responses have been mixed, with reactions ranging from admiration for his very public coming out to speculation about how he contracted the virus and the vilification of sex workers. It also sparked discussions around confidentiality, blackmail and the legal implications of not disclosing his HIV status to his ex-partners. … Read more

Cooperation and sharing can help combat climate change

27 Nov 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Chinese landscapeChina has pledged RMB 20 billion (US$3.13 billion) to support other developing countries in combating climate change through South-South cooperation. Photo: UNDP China
Around the world, countries are working towards ways to reduce climate change. And while individual countries must take into account local contexts, it is unnecessary to always “reinvent the wheel” with each new solution. Through the South-South cooperation (SSC), UNDP connects various stakeholders to form partnerships across the developing world for pursuing these solutions. On climate change and environmental sustainability, UNDP delivers a portfolio of US$2.3 billion, supporting over 140 countries in pursuing low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways. A central element of this work is South-South cooperation … Read more

Afro-Brazilian women take to the streets. How about also taking up seats in parliament?

27 Nov 2015 by Carolina Azevedo, Communications Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

March of Black WomenCalling for the protection of human rights, more than 20,000 women took to the streets during the March of Black Women on 18 November in Brasilia. Photo: Vinícius Carvalho/Marcha das Mulheres Negras
“The power structure [in our region] is macho, white and old,” said Creuza Oliveira, President of the National Federation of Domestic Workers of Brazil. Creuza’s speech during the ECLAC-UNDP Regional Conference on Social Development brought many ministers and country delegates – men and women – to tears. Her words give witness to the experience of African descendants, who make up around 30 per cent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout the region Afro-descendants face discrimination and experience disproportionate levels of poverty and social exclusion. Often they face multiple and intersecting forms of inequity based on other factors such as gender, religion or disability. … Read more

Surviving bad love

25 Nov 2015 by Lei Phyu, Communications & Social Media Analyst, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Combatting violence against womenOne in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of someone they know. UNDP photo
One in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of someone they know in their lifetime. Growing up, I never thought I’d become that one in three. For five years, alcoholism drove my ex-boyfriend’s worsening Jeckyll and Hyde personality. It took me four years to realize this man was abusive from the start. It took another year to get out. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This year’s theme is prevention. … Read more

Adapting from the ground up

24 Nov 2015 by Bella Tonkonogy, Adaptation finance specialist and private sector advisor, UNDP Climate Change Adaptation team

  Farmers in Tajikistan are now growing local fruit and vegetable species that fare better in the changing climate. Photo: UNDP Tajikistan
Ismail Faisov tends a farm in the mountainous Dashtijum Jamoat region in Tajikistan. Dashtijum Jamoat is rich with indigenous fruits and legumes that have become naturally resilient to drought, cold weather, diseases, and other environmental stresses. For a number of reasons though, Ismail did not cultivate these traditional species, choosing instead to sell imported cultivars that did not fare well in Tajikistan’s changing climate. Consequently, Ismail struggled to support his family. The majority of people in the developing world live in poor, rural areas and rely on micro and small enterprises (MSEs) for their livelihoods. MSEs account for approximately 60 to 80 percent of the labor force in these countries. … Read more

What has salt got to do with development?

23 Nov 2015 by Daniel Franks, Chief Technical Advisor and Programme Manager, ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, UNDP

Salt mine in DRHaitian workers transport salt at the Las Salinas mine, Dominican Republic. Photo: Reuters/Ricardo Rojas
Do you know where the salt that flavours your food comes from? What about the lime to set our concrete walls, the aggregate and the sand that pave our roads, the pigments that colour our paints, or the bricks that hold up our ceilings? Construction materials, dimension stones, industrial minerals and semi-precious stones are the hidden bedrock of our society, and the people that mine them in many parts of the world are often humble small-scale miners. These so-called “low value minerals” may not generate the same attention as diamonds, copper or gold, but their value lies in their potential to be minerals of development, boosting the livelihoods of millions of people. … Read more

World Toilet Day is no laughing matter

19 Nov 2015 by John Aravosis, Manager, Online and Digital Team, UNDP

World Toilet DayTo raise awareness around World Toilet Day 2015, UN Water placed a giant inflatable toilet in front of the UN Secretariat in New York. Photo: John Aravosis
World Toilet Day is on 19 November. And while the topic might at first sound funny, its implications are deadly serious for billions of people around the world. Today, 2.5 billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation; and 1 billion still defecate in the open, a practice that has led to a significant number of diarrheal deaths among children under-five, among other health implications. … Read more

Climate change is not gender-neutral

17 Nov 2015 by Ana Maria Currea, Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist, GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP

woman prepares a mealA woman prepares a meal using an efficient cook stove in Cameroon. Photo: Small Grants Programme/UNDP Cameroon
It is well established that the poor are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and that women—who account for the majority of the world’s poor—are disproportionately impacted. Why is this fact so important? And what are we doing to address it? Women farmers account for 45 to 80 percent of all food production in developing countries. This means that any changes in climate—such as droughts and floods—affect their livelihoods, incomes and food security more than they do men. … 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