How abnormal is normal?

01 Mar 2016 by Bakhodir Burkhanov, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Viet Nam

woman on motorbikeA woman carrys kids on her motorbikes through the street of Viet Nam. It’s a common rush-hour scene, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam
Women zip through the streets, carrying kids and groceries on their motorbikes. It’s a common rush-hour scene on the streets of Viet Nam, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Existing stereotypes in Viet Nam confine women and men to certain roles, positions and careers. According to a UNDP report on women’s leadership in Viet Nam, few women achieve senior government positions. In the civil service, women hold very few senior posts: only nine percent ministers, eight percent vice ministers, and seven percent at director-general level. … Read more

Since 1966, UNDP has worked for a more fair and prosperous world for all

23 Feb 2016 by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Park rangers in Band-e-Amir National Park, where UNDP runs projects with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Global Environment Fund’s Small Grants Programme to protect the environment and provide clean energy to local residents. Photo: Robert Few / UNDP Afghanistan
Fifty years ago, one in every three people around the world was living in poverty. It was against that backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was founded in 1966. Ever since, UNDP has been a leader in working for a more fair and prosperous world for all. We have worked with governments, civil society, the private sector, and philanthropy to empower people and build resilient nations. As UNDP begins its second half century, the numbers of people in poverty have decreased to around one in eight. UNDP is proud to have worked with many partners committed to poverty eradication. … Read more

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

05 Jan 2016 by Carolina Azevedo, Communications Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

How kids define povertyAsked 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

Focusing development efforts around the MDGs was not always easy

28 Dec 2015 by Sheila Marnie, Programme Advisor, Sustainable Development Cluster, Istanbul Regional Hub, UNDP

Local officials in UzbekistanLocal officials in Uzbekistan take part in team building exercises. Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
I remember meeting with partners in the Cabinet of Ministers in 2002-3, working as a poverty reduction consultant. I was advised not to bring up the topic of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) with government officials, as it would be insulting for them to compare their country with other developing countries. The Government officials were very proud of Uzbekistan’s well-developed health, education, and social protection systems and would not want to be associated with hunger and starving, unprotected children. … Read more

Financing development through better domestic resource mobilization

22 Dec 2015 by Gail Hurley, specialist on Development Finance and Nergis Gülasan, specialist on Strategic Policy

women in VanuatuSevere extreme weather events in Small Island Developing States can result in heavy relief and reconstruction costs. Photo: UNDP in Vanuatu
Over the last 15 years, developing countries have increased domestic revenues by on average 14% annually. The domestic revenues of developing economies amounted to USD 7.7 trillion in 2012; that’s USD 6 trillion more than in 2000. Domestic resources are the largest, most important and most stable source of finance for development. Can we expect these resources to keep on increasing in the coming years and mobilise them for development? … Read more

Skills training is a pathway to economic growth for all

11 Nov 2015 by By Gokhan Dikmener, Technical Specialist, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development, UNDP

women attend their first day of classKosovan women attend their first day of classes at the BUTGEM vocational training centre in Bursa, Turkey. Photo: Yuksel Cetin
Fatos Hasolli can’t find a job, despite having a university degree in engineering. The Kosovan young man, in his mid-20s, decided his best option is to leave Kosovo* and find a job elsewhere. His story is shared by thousands of Kosovan youth who, according to the World Bank, face a 60% unemployment rate. But Hasolli’s story is not only found in Kosovo: it has become a global trend for both developed and developing countries. … Read more

Saving lives, preserving dignity, and securing the future in Syria

05 Nov 2015 by Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP

Syrian refugeesNow into its fifth year, the Syrian crisis has claimed over 250,000 lives and displaced over 12 million people from their homes. Photo: UNDP Syria
The whole world is acutely aware of the grim facts of the Syria crisis. Now into its fifth year, it’s claimed over 250,000 lives, displaced over 12 million from their homes, devastated the country, and rolled back Syria’s development indicators by four decades. Less known but also vitally important is the impact the crisis has had on neighboring countries who have generously accommodated record numbers of refugees and are reeling from the strains that come with such monumental solidarity. For more than four years, UNDP has been championing a resilience-based response to the Syria crisis. … 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

Will enclaved development be the scenario of the future?

30 Oct 2015 by Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding, UNDP

In the extractive industries, it is not unusual to see companies supported by political elite-pacts confining themselves to compounds protected by private security firms, literally walled off from the local communities. Food, supplies, and even labour are flown from outside, while the extracted resources are exported to other countries for processing. Where this happens, operations are hardly connected with the local environment. And when labour is imported, these developments also fail to promote local employment opportunities. Inequality and enclaved development is also increasingly visible in capitals and large cities. Some capitals in resource rich countries have become extremely expensive cities, despite widespread poverty. … 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