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

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

Bashi's journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come

28 Oct 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

Somali youthYoung Somali men participate in a vocational training and education program in Burao, Somaliland. But as Africa’s population grows, the number of people escaping conflict in countries like Somalia will continue to rise. Photo: UNDP Somalia
Bashi, a young man who fled from conflict in Somalia, is one of many Africans making the journey to Europe for a better life. … Read more

How are all countries, rich and poor, to define poverty?

16 Oct 2015 by Alessandra Casazza, Programme Advisor for MDGs/SDGs, UNDP

In Rwanda, a woman works in her tailoring shop. The World Bank recently updated the absolute poverty line to US$1.90 a day, reflecting changes in the average price of the goods and services people require in 15 developing countries, including Rwanda. Photo: Alice Kayibanda/UNDP Rwanda
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our new development compass. Its 17 goals and 169 targets provide countries – rich and poor – with the coordinates of the new ‘development north’, which more than 190 countries have committed to reach in the next 15 years. As of 1 January 2016, countries, like big vessels, will begin sailing towards this new development north from different harbors. But how will they calibrate their ‘navigation instruments’ to set their course? The 2030 Agenda is very clear in this respect. Paragraph 55 reads: ‘[…] Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each Government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances.’ As an example, let us consider Sustainable Development Goal 1: ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’. … Read more

Migrant remittances are a lifeline for families, and a force for development

15 Oct 2015 by Ben Slay, Senior Economist and Mihail Peleah, Programme Specialist in Green Economy and Employment

A worker in TajikistanRelative to GDP, remittances flowing into Tajikistan are among the largest in the world. Photo: Mashid Mohadjerin
With an influx of refugees and migrants making headlines in Europe and politicians around the world debating the merits of immigration, it’s important to take a step back and consider the development impact migration has for both sending countries and host nations. International labour migration has become a key driver of development around the world. One way migration impacts development is through the accompanying remittances, the money sent by migrant workers (and diasporas) to relatives back home. … 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

Cities will be big winners in 2015

21 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

Kathmandu after the earthquakeDharahara, Kathmandu after earthquake in April 2015. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi /UNDP Nepal
In just a few days, the international community will meet in New York to finalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In doing so, countries will roll out the path forward for the next 15 years. With a human population that is increasingly urban, a focus on cities and settlements is not only welcome but necessary. Having seen first-hand the fragility of many of our cities, I am thrilled that Goal 11 focuses on urban resilience. … Read more

Becoming the Zero Hunger generation: Achieving food security for all

14 Sep 2015 by Paloma Durán, Director, Sustainable Development Goals Fund

Farmers in MadagascarIncreasing agricultural productivity, especially on small and family farms, is key to ensuring food security. Photo: UNDP Madagascar
As we approach the UN Sustainable Development Summit, when world leaders will come together to adopt a new global development agenda, it is critically important that we keep what is at stake firmly in sight. A central issue like hunger, which is a long standing development priority, remains an everyday battle for almost 795 million people worldwide. While this figure is 216 million less than in 1990-92, according to UN statistics, hunger kills more people every year than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. … Read more