Innovation, state of the art of development

09 Jun 2015 by Stefano Pettinato, Resident Representative a.i. for Belize and El Salvador

Latin America and the Caribbean are starting to emphasize the importance of innovation as the engine for confronting development challenges. Photo: UNDP El Salvador
Creative inspiration is a characteristic commonly found among artists, and to some extent it is hard to explain. Living as we do in the age of Google and Wikipedia, which provide immediate gratification to whatever question we may have, the search for solutions that are inherently creative and innovative calls for a particular kind effort. Some solutions do exist, however, that can help us harness our imagination and creativity in our work as development stakeholders. In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. … Read more

How agro-commodity traders can help the SDGs and reduce poverty

29 May 2015 by Andrew Bovarnick, Global Head of the Green Commodities Programme, Sustainable Development Cluster, UNDP

cocoa podsGhana’s cocoa is produced by thousands of smallholder farmers, spread over six of the country’s 10 regions. Photo: COCOBOD
With the global population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050, we face a dual challenge: ensuring the continued production of agricultural commodities, such as soy, palm oil, cattle, coffee and cocoa, without destroying the planet’s natural resources that humanity depends on to survive. Agricultural commodities are the bedrock of many rural developing economies, contributing to vital economic growth and the ongoing fight against poverty. As such, they play a critical role in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. … Read more

In Haiti, a neighbourhood converts ideas into innovation and opportunities

26 May 2015 by Rita Sciarra, Head of the Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP Haiti

Forty initiatives were selected and an initial capital of US$500 to $1,500 was awarded, so they could transform their "idea" into a reality. Photo: UNDP Haiti
Fort National is a very poor and dangerous neighbourhood of Puerto Príncipe, a neighbourhood identified with high crime rates, violence, and large numbers of weapons. The mere mention of its name sets off alarm bells, warning you "Do not enter". In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. … Read more

A cup of coffee, spiced with biodiversity

22 May 2015 by Santiago Carrizosa, Senior Technical Advisor, Sustainable Development Cluster

farmers plant seedlingsFarmers in Colombia plant seedlings of native plants for a biological conservation corridor in an area of coffee farms. Photo: UNDP in Colombia
Today is the International Day of Biological Diversity, which has for me deep personal, professional and cultural significance. Working in Latin America and Caribbean region, I have witnessed firsthand the profound dependence that we all have on the natural world – especially people who work closely with the land and sea. In UNDP, we are committed to harnessing this reliance in ways that improve biodiversity and people’s lives. … Read more

Why are drug policies relevant to the new global development agenda?

07 May 2015 by Javier Sagredo, Advisor on Democratic Governance and Citizen Security, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo: UNDP/Brian Sokol
Imagine a world in which all people who have problems with substance abuse do not suffer stigma but are guided to find appropriate health, social, and job-related support. Imagine a world in which justice systems and prison systems effectively fulfill their objectives to provide justice and social rehabilitation. This also entails finding alternative solutions that prevent keeping thousands of people imprisoned while awaiting trial, or experiencing grave human rights violations. … Read more

Indigenous youth and the post-2015 development agenda

28 Apr 2015 by Laurence Klein, Programme Specialist for Indigenous Participation, UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous women in ColombiaAccording to figures from ECLAC, there are more than 800 indigenous peoples in Latin America, with a total population of about 45 million. Photo: UNDP Colombia
Imagine that instead of excluding marginalized groups, we include them in the new international post-2015 development agenda. Now, imagine the future development agenda built on the enormous potential of indigenous peoples with their ancestral knowledge. Now combine this knowledge with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and the mobilizing and transforming capacity of indigenous youth. Wouldn’t you listen to these voices? … Read more

The need to boost youth participation and inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean

09 Apr 2015 by Jessica Faieta, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean

 The region has more than 150 million young people between 15 and 29 years but a closer look into LAC parliaments reveals that young people are scarcely represented. Photo: UNDP/El Salvador
Young people in the region have been playing a key role in recent peaceful demonstrations that demand more effective and transparent governments. And they do so not only by taking to the streets but also by playing a role in their own communities and — increasingly — on social networks. … Read more

Inside UNDP: Jorge Álvarez

06 Apr 2015 by Jorge Álvarez, Programme Officer, Energy and Environment, Peru

 Jorge Álvarez with community members from UNDP’s sustainable land management project in Las Bambas, Apurímac, Peru. Photo: UNDP/Peru
Jorge Álvarez, from Peru, is an agricultural engineer who has worked for UNDP for over five years and is on the roster of Peruvian national experts of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He is motivated by the desire to raise public awareness on the importance of taking care of the planet and its resources, to generate tangible changes in his country, and to leave to his children a legacy of a cleaner and sustainable Peru. … Read more

Haiti: What does it take to transition from humanitarian needs to long-term development?

13 Mar 2015 by Sophie de Caen, Senior Country Director, Haiti

 Haitians set up impromtu tent cities through the capital after an earthquake measuring 7 plus on the Richter scale rocked Port au Prince in 2010. Photo: Logan Abassi/UN
Haiti has come a long way since the earthquake shook the country five years ago. In spite of the immense challenges, Haiti has made notable progress in health and education, as the Government of Haiti-UNDP Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Report shows. Today the country also has a more risk-informed approach to development, with more retaining walls, safer housing, and simulation exercises for better preparedness. National efforts, supported by both humanitarian and development assistance, have clearly made an impact. But a much bigger impact is needed.   Prior to the earthquake, there were several grave development challenges, including poverty (which today stands at 60 percent of the population). Building standards were poor and houses were built in risk prone areas. With such fragility, the consequences of a small earthquake would be dreadful.   But instead, a huge earthquake struck one of the most vulnerable areas—and hit the poorest hardest. Haiti can prevent future tragedies.  This entails working on priority issues such as education, health, employment, social protection, environment and, importantly, climate change and disaster resilience. This week, the Government of Haiti, the United Nations and partners launched a Transitional Appeal (TAP) seeking US$401 million for the next two years, focusing on boosting resilience … Read more

It’s time to listen to the poor

12 Mar 2015 by William Pleitez, Deputy Resident Representative and Chief Economist in El Salvador

A fisherman in El SalvadorA fisherman in the Gulf of Fonseca Basin in El Salvador. Employment, education, health, food security, safety and housing must be given priority in order to alleviate poverty in El Salvador. Photo: UNDP El Salvador
Listening to the poor deepens the wisdom of nations. “We must look at things from the perspective of those who are directly affected,” advises Mahbub ul Haq, founder of the Human Development Index. On this basis, UNDP, with the help of TECHO, conducted fieldwork in 20 poor communities in El Salvador  and recently published its findings in the report Poverty in El Salvador from the Perspective of its Protagonists (link in Spanish). Contrary to what public opinion polls reveal, when poorer communities themselves were asked to identify the country’s main problem, their response was the poverty in which they live. When asked what “living in poverty” meant to them, most people agreed on three points: “Look at what we eat,” said a woman, referring to her diet, which consists of salt, tortillas, beans and rice. She noted that her family was often unable to eat three times a day and had to skip meals. “When things become serious, even if I can’t eat, I try to make sure that at least my children can.” “Look at where we live,” commented another woman, referring to the many structural problems visible in the floor, roof and walls of her home, and deploring the … Read more