Too much, too little, never enough

21 Aug 2015 by Dylan Lowthian, Communications Analyst, UNDP Media and Advocacy team

Benito VelasquezBenito Velasquez, a farmer from Torota, Bolivia, says erratic weather is affecting his crops. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP
"I beg everyone to think. It’s not just one country – we have to think about the whole world. We have to say this to our leaders.” Benito Velasquez has farmed a modest patch of land in central Bolivia all his life. “Climate change is taking place”, he says. “We have lots of work to do. Maybe in 50 years we can repair what we have destroyed. We have to repair it.” I have come to meet Benito to see firsthand how changing weather patterns are affecting Bolivian farmers. The interview is part of a visit to four countries on three continents, to document the effect climate change is having on agricultural communities. … Read more

Africa, midway through its "Glorious Thirty"

17 Aug 2015 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

des vendeuses dans un marché en RDCAfrica's economic prospects are bright, but the continent loses about 4 percent of its GDP each year due to the exclusion of women from business and politics. Photo: Aziza Bangwene/UNDP in DRC
Sub-Saharan Africa is the only place in the world where living standards stagnated and even declined throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But things are now very different. Africa’s prospects began to change radically in the late 1990s, with its growth rate close to five percent per year ever since. Africa has made concomitant gains in the social sphere. It has made remarkable progress on primary education, child mortality, slowing down HIV and Aids or increasing the numbers of women in parliament. … Read more

How will we ensure the new Ebola vaccine reaches those most in need?

13 Aug 2015 by By Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director for HIV, Health and Development, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

A family recovering from the impact of Ebola in Liberia.Community participation in immunization programmes results in higher coverage and reduces the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases. Photo: UNDP Liberia
We are optimistic about a new tool in the fight against Ebola. The phase III trials on efficacy of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine have yielded an impressive result in a relatively short time - 100% effectiveness in those receiving the vaccine. Without a doubt, this is an important tool for the protection of health and community workers and possibly the wider community. But how will this new tool be used? How will it reach those in need? … Read more

If you want it done, take action

12 Aug 2015 by Lei Phyu, Communications & Social Media Analyst, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

young Syrian womanYouth participate in a rubbish removal initiative in As-Salamieh, Syria. Photo: UNDP Syria
It pains me when people on social media comment that everyday civic engagement isn’t their responsibility and should be solely the work of governments and the UN. Civic engagement is defined as “individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.” We don’t all need to be leaders, but we should all take part in our society. If we get a cut, do we treat ourselves right away or do we wait for a leader to bring us a Band-Aid? If we want an improvement in our community done right, our way, why shouldn’t we take initiative rather wait for permission from a leader to do it for us? … Read more

UNDP missions powered by the sun

03 Aug 2015 by William Allen, Communications Specialist, UNDP

workers install solar panelsWorkers install solar panels on the roof of the UNDP offices in Sierra Leone.
UNDP offices are looking to the sky to power their programmes. It's interesting to see what we have already accomplished, and how much more we can do. Solar power is a champion for many of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, including targets for resilient cities, infrastructure, and sustainable energy. It is a key to our global warming crisis, especially for sun-filled regions of the world. It creates an energy-independent environment with less noise and air pollution and sustainable, outage-free workplaces for UNDP and its partners. … Read more

What does inclusive economic growth actually mean in practice?

31 Jul 2015 by By Paloma Durán, Director, Sustainable Development Goals Fund

Coffee cooperative in AfricaA farmer with his family in Chingawaram village, India. Inclusive growth is about ensuring that the benefits of development reach the entire population, including the most vulnerable members. Photo: UNDP India
With the historic Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) now completed, “inclusive growth” remains a high priority on the agenda. While most stakeholders agree it’s an important and compelling part of the dialogue on development, it still remains rather ambiguous as a term. And seemingly when you ask five economists to define the concept, you will likely end up with six answers. Within the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund), we are keen to understand the various theories pertaining to inclusive growth and how best to put them into practice. We realize that there’s more than one way to achieve this objective, which means there is plenty of room for creativity. … Read more

Stronger partnerships with foundations to take sustainable development further

27 Jul 2015 by Marcos Neto, Team Leader, Private Sector and Foundations and Karolina Mzyk, Policy Specialist, Foundations, UNDP

HC in IndonesiaA farmer in Kenya, one of four countries where UNDP is partnering with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Photo: UNDP Africa.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” This old African proverb underpins UNDP’s engagement with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda. Ghana is the fourth country – following Kenya, Colombia and Indonesia – where we are connecting local foundations with the UN, government, private sector and civil society led policy discussions and development initiatives. The project is in collaboration with our partners the Foundation Center and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and aims to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). … Read more

A sidelined youth: The soft underbelly of ‘Africa rising’

16 Jul 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

youth innovationYouth learn IT skills at a training centre in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone. Photo: Natsuko Kaneyama/UNDP
Africa is experiencing a period of exceptional economic performance, but impressive growth rates are not yet translating into higher human development for all. Put simply, the growth is not inclusive. A key obstacle to Africa's long-term prosperity, productivity and stability is the crisis facing the continent’s youth. Young people in Africa are economically, socially and politically marginalized. This failure to deliver for a growing and restless youth is the soft underbelly of the “Africa rising” narrative. … Read more

Co-financing for health and development – an affordable innovation

13 Jul 2015 by Douglas Webb, Mandeep Dhaliwal, and Pedro Conceicao

school children in EthiopiaUNDP has piloted a co-financing methodology in the area of HIV, health and social protection in four sub-Saharan African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. Photo: UNDP in Ethiopia
The implementation of the post-2015 development agenda will call on countries to be more resourceful than ever, including improving efficiencies and leveraging increased domestic resources in innovative and cost-effective ways. How can innovative financing find critical synergies between the Sustainable Development Goals while saving money? In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more

A look behind the protective gear reveals the faces of Ebola

08 Jul 2015 by Anthony Headley, Communication Specialist, UNDP in Guinea

ebolaPhoto posters of Ebola workers from the Inside Out project are showcased on the UNDP Common House in Conakry, Guinea. Photo: Anthony Headley/UNDP Guinea
Forécariah is a grueling 3.5 hour drive out of Guinea’s capital, Conakry. Although the road is only 100 kilometers, it is bustling with life. Between the potholes, the markets take over the two-lane highway’s flat surface. You could furnish your apartment just sitting in one of these notorious traffic jams in Guinea! The excitement of the road mirrored what I was feeling about my mission once I arrived in Forécariah. Sitting in the traffic, I thought about my destination, not knowing what to expect and anticipating their reactions. I had chosen to take the portraits of the people who work in Ebola treatment centers. To show the faces of those everyone has seen, but who have mostly appeared in their astronaut-looking suits, under their personal protective equipment. … Read more