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

Climate change, peace and security in the Arab region

04 Nov 2015 by Dr. Kishan Khoday, Regional Team Leader, Climate Change, DRR and Resilience, UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States

Somalian woman with childRefugees and internally displaced persons from Somalia are displaced due to drought and conflict. Photo: Stuart Price/NU Photo
Among the various drivers of risk in the world today, two stand out: climate change and the evolving nature of conflict and insecurity. While each by itself has serious consequences for development, their convergence has become a subject of heightened attention. The U.N. Security Council has convened a series of debates on climate change in recent years and, for the first time, the latest global Assessment Report by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change includes a chapter on “Human Security”, mapping out the risks for resource scarcity, displacement, and conflict. … Read more

Climate investment: burden or benefit for the poor?

30 Oct 2015 by Angelica Shamerina, Program Advisor for Climate Change and Regional Focal Point (Latin America and Caribbean), GEF Small Grants Programme

men in riverCommunity members work on a small hydro installation as part of the Small Grants Programme in the Dominican Republic.
Over time, most arguments against climate action have been pushed to the margins—we now have widespread acceptance of climate change’s threats and impacts, as well as an understanding of the mitigation and adaptation measures that need to be taken. However, one argument has stubbornly remained: that the issue is simply too costly to address. Thankfully, this thinking is starting to change. Technological advances, a better understanding of the relationship between energy access and poverty, and the importance of off-grid, low carbon solutions have all helped show that climate action is not a burden, but rather an essential aspect of poverty reduction. Indeed, prominent development thinkers argue that low carbon development is itself a path to growth. … Read more

Making energy efficiency visible

23 Oct 2015 by Marina Olshanskaya, Regional Technical Advisor, Energy, Infrastructure, Technology and Transport, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

kids in classroomIn an Uzbekistan school, the implementation of simple energy efficiency measures increased the classroom’s temperature from 10°C to 20°C, making for a much more comfortable learning environment. Photo: UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. The buildings where we live and work are responsible for over one-third of global energy needs and a correspondingly high share of CO2 emissions. Improving the energy efficiency in buildings is one of the most cost-effective climate mitigation solutions we have: one “negawatt” of saved energy costs much less to produce than generating a new watt from conventional or even alternative energy sources. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, there is a vast number of highly inefficient buildings, and a tremendous potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction and the production of negawatts. … Read more

As glacial lakes flood, the effect can be devastating

13 Oct 2015 by Rajeev Issar, Policy Specialist, Disaster & Climate Risk Governance, UNDP

glacier lakeTsho Rolpa Glacial Lake in Gaurishankar VDC, Dolakha district, Nepal. Photo: Deepak KC/UNDP Nepal
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 climate conference in December. Golf, yes. But GLOF? What is that? The increasingly apparent impacts of climate change have introduced this new term—an abbreviation for “glacial lake outburst flood”—to the world’s vocabulary. When glaciers melt, they sometimes form lakes on mountaintops. The water in these glacial lakes accumulates behind loose “dams” made of ice, sand, pebbles and ice residue. But these dams are inherently unstable and avalanches, falling boulders, earthquakes, or even simply the accumulation of too much water can unleash sudden, potentially disastrous floods in nearby communities. … Read more

The road to Paris: the Macedonian case

12 Oct 2015 by Pavlina Zdraveva, Project Manager, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, UNDP in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

macedonia gridTo help clarify the aims of the INDC, we made this interactive infographic (click to access).
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. In preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, all participating countries have been asked to develop and determine their own national contributions to slowing climate change. These proposed measures are referred to as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs), and to date, 121 countries have submitted one. … Read more

Long days and nights on the road to Paris

08 Oct 2015 by Cassie Flynn, Policy Specialist, Climate Change, UNDP

Community members planting trees with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. Photo: Jackie Curtis/UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. It is 1 September and I am sitting at a table in the basement of the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, with a group of delegates from ten countries. We are discussing a proposal regarding how the crucial element of finance will be included in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We are exhausted, yet determined—this is the second to last negotiation session before countries gather in Paris for the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to agree on a new, universal deal on climate change. … Read more

Looking to 2030 from the path of the Millennium Development Goals

06 Oct 2015 by Gonzalo Pizarro, Policy Specialist, Millennium Development Goals and Human Development, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean and Diana Costa, Consultant, Sustainable Development, UNDP

Guatemalan womanIf current trends continue, the region as a whole is on track to achieve many MDG goals. Photo: Carolina Trutmann/UNDP Guatemala
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. Last week, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its future development agenda through the year 2030. “Ours can be the first generation to end poverty,” the UN Secretary-General has declared. In Latin America and the Caribbean, will we in fact be the first generation that eliminates extreme poverty while simultaneously reducing the inequalities that have historically thwarted development here in this region? … Read more

How can mining contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?

05 Oct 2015 by Gillian Davidson, Lisa Sachs and Casper Sonesson

A miner in DRC.A worker at a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With meaningful engagement, mining companies could become partners in achieving the SDGs. UNDP Photo
The heads of 193 UN member states have now signed on to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be the shared global development framework for the coming generation. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income countries. And through partnerships with government and civil society, they can ensure that benefits of mining extend beyond the life of the mine itself, so that the mining industry has a positive impact on the natural environment, climate change, and social capital. … Read more

Oceans are inextricably linked to human development

22 Sep 2015 by Andrew Hudson, Head, Water and Ocean Goverance Programme and Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist, Post-2015 and SDGs, Rio+ Centre

OceanOceans are linked to our health, economy and wellbeing on the planet. Photo: UNDP Namibia
Three-fourths of our blue planet is covered by oceans, containing 97% of the earth’s water and representing 99% of the living space on earth by volume. They serve as the world’s largest source of protein for over 2.6 billion people. To fulfill SDG 14 it will be necessary to make conservation efforts more economically attractive and put a price on harmful activities. Governments will need both the political and technical support necessary to take on this ambitious agenda. … Read more