South-South cooperation -- how can we maximize its impact on sustainable development?

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Risk Reduction Management Centers, a successful initiative in hurricane-prone Cuba, are being scaled up across partnering Caribbean states. Photo: Carolina Azevedo/ UNDP

South-South Cooperation is gaining new momentum as global political and economic realities change rapidly. It is also adding critical value to development. So how can we ensure that the larger potential of SSC is reflected in ongoing discussions on financing for development, while recognizing its differences from more traditional forms of ‘North-South’ development cooperation?

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

My voyage on the Human Development Report "Enterprise"

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Selim Jahan and Amartya Sen at the Human Development Report Office in the 1990s. Photo: UNDP

“It is an intellectual Enterprise,” Mahbub ul Haq, a Star Trek fan, would fondly say about the Human Development Report (HDR).

The Report was his brainchild, and he was the captain of the HDR Enterprise. And it was this Enterprise’s dynamism, out-of-box thinking and intellectual courage that attracted me to it.

What a journey I have had with the HDR over the last quarter of a century...... Read more

Innovation, state of the art of development

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Latin America and the Caribbean are starting to emphasize the importance of innovation as the engine for confronting development challenges. Photo: UNDP El Salvador

Creative inspiration is a characteristic commonly found among artists, and to some extent it is hard to explain. Living as we do in the age of Google and Wikipedia, which provide immediate gratification to whatever question we may have, the search for solutions that are inherently creative and innovative calls for a particular kind effort. Some solutions do exist, however, that can help us harness our imagination and creativity in our work as development stakeholders.

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

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