6 ways to innovate for 2030

16 Jun 2016 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

A community worker surveys homeless men at a shelter in Old Delhi. Innovative approaches can bring together governments, service providers and businesses to fund social programmes for vulnerable groups. Photo: Niklas Halle’n/UNDP India
Can innovation help achieve the new global development agenda? Can it help address growing humanitarian needs worldwide? The stakes are high: Last year, U.N. member states endorsed the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, and in May 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit sets out to reshape aid. Innovation in the development agenda includes new processes, new technologies, or new ways of using existing technology. No matter what the innovation, it must add value for the end user. A new technology or process that does not create a positive change in the lives of the people we work for does not qualify as innovation. … Read more

Africa’s head start on implementing the Global Goals

13 Jun 2016 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

Africa has a head start on implementing the SDGs, the set of goals that will set the parameters for the global development agenda for the next 15 years. UNDP photo
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015, at the 70th United Nations General Assembly marked the beginning of the difficult task of translating the new global agenda into action. These ambitious and transformative goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will set the parameters for the global development agenda for the next 15 years. Yet an implementation dilemma is unfolding as each region and country grapples with the challenges of rolling out a global development framework while tailoring it to respond to specific development contexts. … Read more

Buying for a better world

10 Jun 2016 by Bruce McCarron, Director, Office of Operations, Legal and Technology, UNDP and Dominic Grace, Director, Office of Sourcing and Operations, UNDP

Sustainable procurement means making sure that the products and services we buy are as sustainable as possible – both economically, socially, and environmentally. Photo: UNDP
At first glance, procurement may seem like something that happens in the background – a specialized, technical and potentially narrow part of UNDP’s work. But procurement touches everything from buying office vehicles, health commodities and election materials to procuring energy systems as well as consultancy services. All these activities combined form a strategic function that is, not only due to its large share of our yearly expenditures, an extremely important part of our work. In our efforts to help countries end poverty and significantly reduce inequalities and exclusion – in parallel with measures to combat climate change – UNDP is striving to adopt more sustainable production and consumption practices. … Read more

20 million people living with HIV are being left behind

09 Jun 2016 by Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director for HIV, Health and Development, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

The number of HIV/AIDS patients with access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy has more than doubled since 2010. Photo: UNDP Nepal
This week, world leaders gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS to chart the way forward towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 as laid out in the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A new report from UNAIDS shows that the number of people with access to antiretroviral therapy—life-saving medicines that suppress the HIV virus and stop disease progression—has more than doubled since 2010, bringing the new total of people on HIV treatment around the world to an estimated 17 million at the end of 2015. … Read more

Conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources

08 Jun 2016 by by Andrew Hudson, Head of Water and Ocean Governance Programme, UNDP

UNDP’s Ocean Governance programme is strongly aligned with SDG 14. Photo: Mirja Neumann/UNDP
In September 2015, the international community adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. As we observe World Oceans Day, let’s explore the SDG14 targets in terms of what concrete actions will be required to achieve each one. Achieving Target 14.1 of reducing nutrient pollution and marine debris will require transformational change in nutrient and solid waste management across multiple sectors at all levels of governance. The private sector, driven by the right kinds of enabling policies, will play a pivotal role in moving management of these resources – not waste - towards a much more ‘circular economy’. … Read more

A new Global Alliance to 'think urban' in humanitarian response

03 Jun 2016 by Amy Gill, Local Governance Specialist, Responsive and Accountable Institutions Team, UNDP

Downtown Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Habitat
The humanitarian situation is changing. There are now more refugees and internally displaced persons than at any time since the end of the Second World War and 60 percent of these are in urban areas. We need to ‘think urban’ when we design our responses to these increasing crises. Rapid and poorly planned urbanization is driving vulnerability in towns and cities around the world. Humanitarian emergencies are increasingly occurring in towns and cities. Responding to this reality requires new ways of working. Major international humanitarian responses are often not closely tied to local municipal actors that understand their communities’ ongoing needs. … Read more

Changing the discourse on humanitarian innovations and partnerships

01 Jun 2016 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist on Innovation, UNDP

Young women and men review crime statistics and add their stories to complete the picture at the 2015 Youth and Innovation Exchange in St. Lucia. Photo: UNDP Barbados
How can new data sources and real-time information systems improve decision-making? This is a question UNDP and its partners, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and Datapop Alliance, were asking at a side-event at the World Humanitarian Summit, together with the Governments of Denmark and Finland, which fund innovation in UN agencies. Innovation and data are important themes in humanitarian relief, as well as in the larger Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda. It underpins the entire agenda as a vehicle to solve wicked challenges across all the SDGs. … Read more

Humanitarian action makes sound business sense

31 May 2016 by Marcos Neto, Director, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development

Private sector, individual companies and philanthropic actors support humanitarian action and development in many countries. Photo: UNCT
In February, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, resulting in loss of life, disruption to business supply chains and damage to properties. The estimated cost to the Fijian economy was US$470 million. Imagine the even greater impact to the Philippines, which is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, five of which are destructive. The challenges the world is facing right now are overwhelming. More than 130 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the world today. Some 60 million people have been forcibly displaced. UN-coordinated plans to provide life-saving aid and protection to the most vulnerable people require nearly US$21 billion each year. … Read more

In high-risk areas, UNDP-Japan partnership delivers on human security

26 May 2016 by Mitsuaki Mizuno, Special Advisor, Japan Unit, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

The Tokyo League uses sports to encourage Palestinian youth in the face of conflict and other hardships. Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs Takeshi Okubo attended the Tokyo League table tennis championships in Gaza. The league uses sports to encourage Palestinian youth in the face of conflict and other hardships. Photo: Shareef Sarhan/UNDP PAPP
I’ll never forget watching the final match of the Tokyo League volleyball tournament. It was heart-warming to see the students, wearing their scarves known as Hijab, playing the game with delight, their eyes shining with joy. It seemed like a memorable experience also for the team, who have no opportunity to explore the world beyond the wall. As you might have guessed by now, the Tokyo League doesn’t play in Japan. The league, which began as an initiative of the Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs, Takeshi Okubo, competes 9,000 miles away in Gaza. … Read more

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