Sustainable agriculture key to green growth and reducing poverty

02 Jul 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

palm oil in IndonesiaIndonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are plagued by bad production techniques. Photo: UNDP in Indonesia
The production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, and cocoa, plays a pivotal role in global efforts to improve livelihoods across the globe. Sadly, agriculture is also the main driver of deforestation today, and is threatening to devastate the very environment upon which we depend to survive. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more

Nepal’s road to recovery is paved with collaboration

30 Jun 2015 by Naoki Nihei, UNDP-JICA/Japan Collaboration Advisor, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

tents in NepalIn a park located in a central urban area in Kathmandu, Nepal, citizens who lost their houses are living in tents provided by international assistance. Photo: Naoki Nihei/UNDP
Looking down from a plane above Kathmandu, I was not able to clearly assess the degree of damage from the 25th April earthquake. In rural areas, most of the houses were destroyed. In Kathmandu, many whose houses were affected are living in tents outside of their homes. In late May, I travelled to Kathmandu to support Japan-UNDP cooperation to help the Government of Nepal in the reconstruction planning after the devastating earthquakes. I could see the colorful tents everywhere in the city, as we flew over it. … Read more

There is no honour in barring women from voting

24 Jun 2015 by Marc-André Franche, Country Director, UNDP in Pakistan

women vote in LahorePakistani women exercise their right to vote on the Cantonment board elections in Lahore. Photo: UNDP Pakistan
On 30 May, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan went to the polls to exercise their hard-earned democratic right to choose their local leaders. But newspaper reports emerged of candidates, community elders, and religious leaders conspiring to bar women from voting. In an earlier by-election, local media reported that out of 47,280 registered women voters, not a single woman cast her vote, following a decision by local leaders to ban women from voting. … Read more

Why rice farmers are key to tackling climate change in the Philippines

17 Jun 2015 by Alexandra Soezer, MDG Carbon Project Manager, UNDP

rice paddyIn the Philippines, rice is the most important crop and its agriculture represents 11% of the growing GDP of the country.
When I began supporting the Philippines Programme for rice cultivation, I saw it through the lens of climate change mitigation. The logic was, if we made some necessary improvements to cultivation methods, we could reduce greenhouse gas emission (GGE) and help mitigate climate change. This is especially important in a country where 29 percent of the GGEs come from rice cultivation. However, I quickly learned was that although you might be driven and committed to work towards reducing global warming, it does not necessarily lead to the critical buy-in of stakeholders like the Department of Agriculture, the National Irrigation Administration, and farmers. … Read more

"My legs started shaking uncontrollably, and suddenly I fell."

29 May 2015 by Ugo Blanco, Regional Advisor for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

woman holds babyThe 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

Building back better in Nepal

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

woman carrying door in NepalTo help the micro-entrepreneurs, UNDP is allocating resources so that they can rapidly restore their businesses. Photo: UNDP in Nepal
The earthquake in Nepal is a tragedy, and there can be little consolation for the large scale death and destruction— for the lives and livelihoods lost, or for the many who are seriously injured, shattered and living in a state of fear and despair. … Read more

Seeing disaster risk first hand in Nepal

12 May 2015 by Rajesh Sharma, Programme Specialist, Disaster Risk Information and Application, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Damaged roads in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley following the 25 April earthquakeRoads are damaged in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley following the 25 April earthquake. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhus / UNDP Nepal
On the morning of Saturday, 25 April I was at a restaurant in Kathmandu when I felt a mild vibration of the floor similar to the one felt by the movement of a heavy vehicle. Before I could make out what it was, the vibrations became intense and the waiter just ran out. All of this happened in a very short time, without any early warning. … Read more

POPs Hunter: Smartphone game spreads serious message about pollutants

08 May 2015 by Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director, UNDP China

Primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall holds a POPs publicity poster during a visit to UNDP.Renowned conservationist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall shows support for the #StopthePops campaign during a visit to UNDP in Beijing. Photo: UNDP China
Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene, Endrin – these are not part of our everyday vocabulary, but without knowing it many of us come into contact with them on a regular basis. In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. … Read more

Nepal’s opportunity to seize the moment for the future of its people

04 May 2015 by Sujala Pant, Governance Specialist, UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok

A woman tries to recover belongings from the earthquake rubble.The need of the hour is to ensure that the generously contributed aid is disbursed in a timely and transparent manner and reaches people who need it most. Photo UNDP Nepal
When the elders in my family spoke of the 1934 earthquake, they talked about how scary it had been, and the damage it left behind. How Dharara, once the tallest structure in Kathmandu, was rebuilt. I was in Kathmandu this time around and it was terrifying to experience the earthquake. I took refuge in my aunt’s house, along with 25 other people whose homes, like many across the city, were either damaged or destroyed. … Read more

Nepal: A lesson in the risks climate change poses to disaster-prone countries

30 Apr 2015 by Daniel Buckley, Climate Change Policy and Finance Analyst, UNDP Sustainable Development Group

Internally displaced persons in Sankhu, northwestern NepalTens of thousands of people have been displaced by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi / UNDP Nepal.
As relief assistance rushes to Nepal after the earthquake, those efforts are being hampered by a number of factors. Weak existing infrastructure means many critical roads have been damaged. Remote mountain villages perched on hillsides require helicopters to distribute aid. Inadequate communications networks complicate the ability to understand and prioritise where relief is most needed. … Read more