Young people are building peace in Colombia

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UNDP has supported the actions of more than 10,000 college students from across Colombia to participate in peace talks. Photo: UNDP Colombia

Why have young people embraced the opportunity to lead and participate in the efforts to build peace in Colombia? Perhaps it is because in over sixty years, Colombians haven’t known one day of peace? At a festival for peace last year in the province of Norte de Santander, a young woman told me that “this is a unique opportunity to get to know a country that I’ve never really known, a country in which no one dies because of a war.” Colombia is a country with a unique geography and history that produced a rich cultural diversity. Each region of the country has its own unique cultural and social norms. With this in mind, the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the left wing FARC guerrillas highlight the importance of peace building at the local level.… Read more

Making airports fit for emergencies

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Workers perform a GARD simulation at Rafic Harriri Airport in Lebanon. Photo: UNDP Lebanon

In March 2015, two major earthquakes hit Nepal, requiring a fast and vast humanitarian response. But authorities were forced to close the only international airport that could accommodate large aircraft, as its runway was deteriorating under the weight of the large planes. Delays ensued in the arrival of both relief goods and personnel. Nepal’s situation is not unique. During major disasters, authorities and relief suppliers often face serious delays due to the strain on capacities, leaving relief supplies piling up or emergency materials and personnel held up at customs. Managing the logistics of large scale disaster response is a complex operation. It involves military and civil agencies leading an effort that includes dozens or even hundreds of stakeholders.… Read more

A recipe for sustainable development

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The Roca Brothers have a walk at the food market in New York to look at the local food products. Photo: Freya Morales/UNDP

Food has always been a central part of our lives: the food in our parents’ restaurant where we grew up; food as an element of creativity, emotion, dialogue and discovery in our work. Food is an important part of our heart and soul. Over the years, we realized that how people experience food, cook, and preserve culinary traditions have a direct impact on the fundamental areas of life. What we eat affects our health, our economy, and our planet.… Read more

After conflict, functioning governments are key for peaceful and inclusive societies

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Women voting in Libya. A transparent voting process helps increase the levels of legitimacy and trust from citizens towards their governments. Photo: UNDP Libya

New Year, new goals, new approaches. It is the starting of the implementation and localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the baseline year against which the 2030 Agenda will measure progress or set-backs. Fragile countries emerging out of conflict will likely be where it is most difficult to implement these goals. But this is also where it will be crucially important. In these countries, citizens are most deprived of basic public services and poverty is most acute.… Read more

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

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Indian 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

For a young Haitian, hope beyond the earthquake

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Oriental was born in a slum area of Port au Prince. Before the earthquake hit, life had already hit him hard. Photo: Raul de la Fuente/Kanaki Films

Oriental Meliance was born in Haiti in 1990. When he was 10 years old, world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Oriental was among the 2 billion poor worldwide classified as living on less than US$1.25 a day. By the time he turned 25 in 2015, the world had halved the number of poor. These huge numbers eclipse the real faces of people, like Oriental.… Read more

Gearing up to avoid a deeper crisis in Burundi

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To overcome the crisis once and for all, we must avoid short-term solutions and focus on youth and the employment of young people. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi

The situation in Burundi is extremely worrying. The political crisis comes on top of structural development problems, with repercussions in terms of humanitarian needs, social cohesion and the human rights situation, all against a familiar historical backdrop. For the most visible humanitarian manifestation of these issues, look no further than the displaced persons who have left Burundi. Internally displaced people are a lot less conspicuous because they stay in communities where they feel safe. I was in Burundi on mission at the beginning of 2015. Our delegation met with representatives of the government, civil society and development partners. We made a field visit to the south of the country where we inspected a site for displaced people, a clinic, and a food distribution centre. The mission will put the spotlight on Burundi and raise its visibility on the list of humanitarian assistance priorities in the event that the situation deteriorates even further.… Read more

Unlocking the potential of youth

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Youth 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

Six ways to define poverty, according to 5-year-olds

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Asked to define poverty, kids give insightful answers. Photo: Renato Contreras/UNDP Peru

Forget about the ‘grandmother rule’ of journalism—or the ‘aunt rule’, depending on the country. According to this principle, you have to explain your message as simply as possible so even your grandmother, or aunt, will understand. I wonder why it’s never the grandfather or the uncle. But that’s a whole other topic... After lecturing to a group of 20 kindergarten students on what UNDP does (sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and other weird terms) I realize that the rule should be: communicate clearly enough so even a 5-year-old will understand your message.… Read more

Our perspectives in 2015

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Sung Thi My, 18, hopes that, unlike her, all her children will have the opportunity to go to school, to get better jobs, and to have a life she could only dream about. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam

With a new global agreement on climate change and the launch of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs), 2015 has been a momentous year. Throughout it all, UNDP bloggers have helped to put it all into perspective. This year, UNDP’s blog featured its highest number of posts (208) from more than 150 different authors. From regional policy experts to organizational leaders to country-level programme advisors, these writers shared diverse perspectives of UNDP’s work. Here are some of the highlights.… Read more