Years of effort are paying off in the fight against female genital mutilation

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Women attend a community meeting at Qena governorate to call to an end to female genital mutilation. Photo: UNDP in Egypt

I was recently in Aswan to meet with the local government, partner NGOs, and people working together to fight against female genital mutilation (FGM), a widely-spread practice in Egypt that predates both Christianity and Islam and was criminalized by Egyptian law in 2008.

The commitment and dedication I found are not only commendable but quite encouraging: Whole communities are taking a firm stance against a traditional practice that has no religious, medical or moral basis, as declared by both Al Azhar and the Coptic Church.... Read more

If oceans were a country...

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If the ocean were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s. Photo: UNDP São Tomé and Príncipe

I recently went diving among some of the amazing coral reefs of Indonesia. Their sheer beauty is beyond description, and their value is beyond calculation. But let’s try to put it in perspective.

The World Wildlife Fund recently estimated that the total asset base of the ocean is valued at US$24 trillion, and the annual “gross marine product” is at least US$2.5 trillion.

If the ocean were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s.... Read more

What are the development solutions for displacement?

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Aziza Galmi, 39, left Central African Republic for Chad with her three daughters after losing her husband. Photo: UNDP in Chad

The tumultuous events in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Ukraine, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have left millions of people displaced. Over 50 million people around the world are living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

According to UNHCR figures, over three quarters of the 50 million are in a state of protracted displacement— lasting for over 5 years. It is obvious that conflict in these countries may not end soon.... Read more

Climate change chat with UNDP head @HelenClarkUNDP

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On World Environment Day, join a live Twitter chat about climate change with UNDP administrator Helen Clark.... Read more

Working to build an inclusive and sustainable future for all

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Sanju Bhoi picks spinach from her floating garden in Odisha State, India. In partnership with the Odisha government, UNDP is helping communities adapt to extreme weather events. Photo: UNDP India

For UNDP and the entire United Nations system, 2015 is a year of historic milestones. It is the year in which the 15-year quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals concludes, and a new era of global development commitments is expected to be launched with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals by world leaders in September.

UNDP played a central role in devising, promoting and helping countries to achieve the MDGs, and is now working with its national partners to prepare for the SDGs.... Read more

How agro-commodity traders can help the SDGs and reduce poverty

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Ghana’s cocoa is produced by thousands of smallholder farmers, spread over six of the country’s 10 regions. Photo: COCOBOD

With the global population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050, we face a dual challenge: ensuring the continued production of agricultural commodities, such as soy, palm oil, cattle, coffee and cocoa, without destroying the planet’s natural resources that humanity depends on to survive.

Agricultural commodities are the bedrock of many rural developing economies, contributing to vital economic growth and the ongoing fight against poverty. As such, they play a critical role in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

... Read more

"My legs started shaking uncontrollably, and suddenly I fell."

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The destruction in rural areas affected by the earthquake is severe. Basic services have been affected, and families with babies have difficulty responding to the health needs and housing. Photo: Ugo Blanco / UNDP

Only weeks after the terrible earthquake that devastated Nepal, I was with a team of engineers working with families from the Sindhupalchock district, a rural area in the centre of Nepal where barely a house was left standing.

As a UNDP regional crisis adviser, I was focused on the job at hand -- but fate had other plans.

Another quake hit.... Read more

"Impact investing" benefits business, people and planet

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Big players are already engaging heavily in various impact investment ventures in various parts of the globe. Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Some say that the most critical aspect of a successful business is the customer. I would agree: A business that contributes to the wellbeing and affluence of its customers by giving back ensures that in the long run they are able to afford and continue to consume the goods and services that the business provides.

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues.... Read more

Let's make 2015 a turning point for youth participation!

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Youth should be part of the development agenda. Photos: UNDP

2015 has a special significance for all of us. We look beyond the Millennium Development Goals and feel more and more excited about the bold, ambitious and inclusive development agenda that is shaping up. It is vital to ensure that 2015 is also a turning point for youth participation. Youth are eager and ready to contribute. ... Read more

In Haiti, a neighbourhood converts ideas into innovation and opportunities

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Forty initiatives were selected and an initial capital of US$500 to $1,500 was awarded, so they could transform their "idea" into a reality. Photo: UNDP Haiti

Fort National is a very poor and dangerous neighbourhood of Puerto Príncipe, a neighbourhood identified with high crime rates, violence, and large numbers of weapons. The mere mention of its name sets off alarm bells, warning you "Do not enter".

In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice.... Read more