Simplicity, thy name is MDGs

22 Sep 2015 by Shakeel Ahmad, Assistant Country Director and Chief, Development Policy Unit, UNDP in Pakistan

Women weavingAt Musa Zai Union Council in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, women are trained in their areas of interest so they can earn their own income and have sustainable livelihoods. Women’s share in wage employment is the lowest in Pakistan (around 10 percent) as compared to other countries in South Asia. UNDP Pakistan
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. When Dr. Mahbub Ul Haq presented the somewhat crude Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990, he was convinced that a single number, which is easily understandable, could convince policy makers, academics and politicians that GDP per capita was not a comprehensive measure of human wellbeing. Similarly, the MDGs as an agenda and framework, though a crude measure like HDI, was very simple and easy for a practitioner like me to communicate and convince stakeholders on its importance and relevance. … 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

Using ancient traditions to break new economic ground

21 Sep 2015 by Tashi Dorji, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Portfolio Manager, UNDP in Bhutan

group of farmers in BhutanThe farmers' group ‘Dangdung Menrig Tshogpa’ participates in an awareness programme on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework in Bhutan. Photo: UNDP Bhutan
Here in Bhutan, the people of Namther and Dangdung communities have been collecting 47 different varieties of medicinal plants. After more than 50 years of collecting plants and making traditional medicine, the villagers have found another way to reap the benefits of biological resources to enhance their livelihoods. With support from UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and Japan’s Nagoya Protocol, the communities have taken a giant leap from collecting traditional medicine plants for personal use to providing resources for commercial products. For communities whose livelihoods primarily depend on seasonal subsistence farming, using biological resources helps them fill in the deficit. … Read more

The future is made in China

18 Sep 2015 by Louise Xi Li, Associate Communications Officer, UNDP in China

data visualizationFuturescaper combines human insight and analytics together with data visualization.
China is a complex, diverse, and dynamic country. Home to internet companies worth billions of dollars, it has more web users than the population of the United States. Many are familiar with the “Made in China” label. But a label not frequently applied to China? “The Future is made in China.” In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. … Read more

Geothermal energy, a bet on the future

17 Sep 2015 by Leo Isidro Heileman, Resident Representative, UNDP in Comoros

The Karthala volcano, ComorosThe Karthala volcano, peaking at 2361 metres altitude, is a clean and sustainable energy reservoir, hitherto unexplored. Photo: UNDP Comoros
In the Comoros, a small southwestern island nation in the Indian Ocean, electricity is almost 100 percent from fossil fuels, and the government is struggling to meet the energy needs of the country’s 700,000 inhabitants. For example, the people in the capital Moroni have just over five hours of electricity a day. In the three islands of the archipelago, the rates of access to electricity do not exceed 50 percent which inevitably impacts the economic activities of the country. But there are solutions. Located on the island of Grande Comore (Ngazidja) is the Karthala volcano, a clean and sustainable energy reservoir, unexplored to date. This active volcano – its last eruption was 2007 – rises 2,361 metres above sea level and could shift from a pervasive threat into opportunity for development. … Read more

Around the world, the Social Good Summit celebrates the Global Goals

16 Sep 2015 by Boaz Paldi, Communications and Partnerships, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Flag raisingThe 2015 Social Good Summit kicks off in Beijing with a flag-raising ceremony. Photo: UNDP China
The 2015 Social Good Summit (SGS) held in over 100 countries as the UN General Assembly convened, unites people from all over the world around a common purpose: using social media, innovation, and technology to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. … Read more

Amidst crisis, helping mothers and newborn to embrace life

15 Sep 2015 by Rasha Al-Shargabi, Field Manager, Youth Economic Empowerment Programme, UNDP in Yemen

two Yemeni womenA future midwife is training in filling out assessment forms as part of a national midwife association training on community mapping. Photo: Rasha Alshargabi/UNDP Yemen
Four-year-old Mohammed caught my eye with his naughty looks and the great amount of happiness housed his little body. I was amused watching him play with other children in the open ground in his village in Alsilw district, Taizz. Only later did I learn that his mother died during labor due to a lack of health care services. I thought of how the world would be for a little child without a mother nurturing him. … Read more

From neglect to respect: Changing Georgia's mental health approach

15 Sep 2015 by Lisa Lenz, Democratic governance intern, UNDP in Georgia

hospitalPsychiatric hospital in Tbilisi. Photo: Melissa Stonehill/UNDP
Visiting a psychiatric clinic can leave a lasting impression. I had the opportunity to visit a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi to meet the doctors and experts taking part in designing a national reform of mental healthcare in Georgia. The first thing I noticed was the hospital’s size. The huge concrete building looked left over from the Soviet era. Even after entering, it seemed more like an administrative center than a hospital housing more than 150 patients. … Read more

Making education the gateway in Tanzania's growth

15 Sep 2015 by Amarakoon Bandara, Economic Advisor, UNDP in Zimbabwe

kids sit in circleConsultative process in Tanzania on post-2015 with young people while filming the documentary ‘Listen to Us’. Photo: UNFPA
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. With a per capita income of just around $310 in 2000, Tanzania’s march towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was a remarkable story – a very poor country putting so much effort into so many areas. Tanzania won’t achieve most of the goals, but the efforts it has made are noteworthy. One goal that stands out is the MDG 2: to achieve universal primary education by 2015. … Read more

Protecting and ensuring space for civil society

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

 For an individual to fully belong to and be recognized in society they must have the most basic legal documentation to which they are entitled by law. Sri Lankans register for birth certificates and National Identiy Cards (NIC) at a mobile legal aid clinic. Photo: UNDP in Sri Lanka
This year’s theme for the International Day of Democracy, “Making Space for Civil Society”, is extremely timely. Reports by many civil society organisations and networks – many of which are echoed in the recently released State of Civil Society Report 2015 by CIVICUS – point to the worrying number of at least 96 countries where serious threats to civic freedoms were reported in 2014. The scale and the depth of these threats is of great concern. I agree with UNDP’s Civil Society Advisory Committee, whose “first and foremost concern is the shrinking legal, policy and participatory space for civil society activists and organizations, in an increasing number of countries across regions and political regimes.” While it was once true that countries in crisis and post-conflict periods are the ones where civil societies have been most at risk, we now see similar threats spreading across a range of development contexts. … Read more