20 million people living with HIV are being left behind

09 Jun 2016 by Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director for HIV, Health and Development, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

The number of HIV/AIDS patients with access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy has more than doubled since 2010. Photo: UNDP Nepal
This week, world leaders gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS to chart the way forward towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 as laid out in the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A new report from UNAIDS shows that the number of people with access to antiretroviral therapy—life-saving medicines that suppress the HIV virus and stop disease progression—has more than doubled since 2010, bringing the new total of people on HIV treatment around the world to an estimated 17 million at the end of 2015. … Read more

A new Global Alliance to 'think urban' in humanitarian response

03 Jun 2016 by Amy Gill, Local Governance Specialist, Responsive and Accountable Institutions Team, UNDP

Downtown Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Habitat
The humanitarian situation is changing. There are now more refugees and internally displaced persons than at any time since the end of the Second World War and 60 percent of these are in urban areas. We need to ‘think urban’ when we design our responses to these increasing crises. Rapid and poorly planned urbanization is driving vulnerability in towns and cities around the world. Humanitarian emergencies are increasingly occurring in towns and cities. Responding to this reality requires new ways of working. Major international humanitarian responses are often not closely tied to local municipal actors that understand their communities’ ongoing needs. … Read more

In high-risk areas, UNDP-Japan partnership delivers on human security

26 May 2016 by Mitsuaki Mizuno, Special Advisor, Japan Unit, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

The Tokyo League uses sports to encourage Palestinian youth in the face of conflict and other hardships. Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs Takeshi Okubo attended the Tokyo League table tennis championships in Gaza. The league uses sports to encourage Palestinian youth in the face of conflict and other hardships. Photo: Shareef Sarhan/UNDP PAPP
I’ll never forget watching the final match of the Tokyo League volleyball tournament. It was heart-warming to see the students, wearing their scarves known as Hijab, playing the game with delight, their eyes shining with joy. It seemed like a memorable experience also for the team, who have no opportunity to explore the world beyond the wall. As you might have guessed by now, the Tokyo League doesn’t play in Japan. The league, which began as an initiative of the Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs, Takeshi Okubo, competes 9,000 miles away in Gaza. … Read more

Building a better future for Syrians in Turkey

23 May 2016 by Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey

Syrian refugees crossing into TurkeySyrian Kurdish refugees cross into Turkey from Syria, near the town of Kobani. The war that erupted in Syria in 2011 has propelled it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement. Photo: I. Prickett/UNHCR
As thousands leave Syria for safer lands, images of white tents and perilous boat journeys have flooded the world’s media. But there’s another side to this story. In Turkey, the host of this week’s World Humanitarian Summit, only about 10 percent of the approximately 2.75 million displaced people from Syria live in refugee camps. The rest live in towns and cities like many of us. Across the country’s southeast, Syrians are silently trying to make a living and blend in. … Read more

Why building peaceful societies is part of the sustainable development agenda

18 May 2016 by Patrick Keuleers, Director of Governance and Peacebuilding, UNDP

woman in peaceParticipants of the Sudan Peace Symposium, a gathering of national and international experts on peace and conflict issues. Photo: UNDP Sudan
We tend not to worry when things are going well. If people can take care of their daily business and send their kids to school without fear of violence, resolve disputes through a functioning justice system when the need arises, express their views both in private discussions and in public processes, feel they can truly contribute to decisions that affect their lives, and know effective institutions are in place to deliver basic services to their families and communities without interruption or the need for bribes, chances are they will be broadly content with the way their society is managed. But, if any one of these public goods is absent, or if their access to safety, health, education or livelihoods is threatened, concerns are likely to be expressed quickly – and often very loudly. … Read more

World Humanitarian Summit: With a shared agreement on what to fix, we can save lives and end need

16 May 2016 by Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator, Crisis Response Unit Leader

 The humanitarian and development sectors need to find new ways to work together to help people in need. Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID
Many of the statistics around the World Humanitarian Summit are so big they can be hard to comprehend. Most importantly, there is the scale of the humanitarian challenges that led the Secretary-General to convene the Summit in the first place. It’s the 125 million people needing humanitarian assistance – the highest level since the Second World War. It’s the 60 million people who have fled their homes - half of them children. It’s the fact that armed conflicts last longer than before, and it’s the estimated 218 million people annually who are affected by disasters, with climate change adding further volatility to the mix. … Read more

Despite global climate pledge, indigenous activists are under attack

13 May 2016 by Laurence Klein, Programme Specialist for Indigenous Participation, Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

Historically indigenous peoples have assumed an important role in the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems. Photo: UNDP Venezuela
Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was the main promoter of the campaign against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras. In 2015, her work won her the Goldman Environmental Prize, the highest international recognition for environmental advocates. On 3 March 2016, her dedication to her people and the environment likely got her killed. In a recent report entitled “How many more?” Global Witness analyzes 116 murders of environmentalists in 2014 and confirms that three-quarters occurred in Latin America. The report states that Honduras is the most dangerous country per capita for environmental activists, with 101 killed between 2010 and 2014. Equally disturbing is that the percentage of indigenous victims like Berta rose to 40 percent in 2015. … Read more

Predicting future impacts on SDGs in Brazil’s uncertain times

05 May 2016 by Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist, Sustainable Development Goals, UNDP Rio+Centre

In Brazil, social programmes have had an impact on eliminating disease. Photo: Tiago Zenero/UNDP Brazil
Bolsa Familia, Brazil’s highly acclaimed conditional cash transfer programme has been an inspiration to many developing countries. But today, in the midst of the country’s worst political and economic crisis in decades, the future of this social protection system is becoming less certain. The programme’s successes are well-known. It has helped to nearly eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality across the country. It has increased school attendance, reduced infant mortality and improved public health. It is a powerful force for women’s empowerment, with targeted benefits for pregnant and nursing women; 93 percent of card holders are women. … Read more

The Goldilocks of gender data: Searching for “just right” on women in public institutions

03 May 2016 by Müge Finkel, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh , Melanie Hughes, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh and Jose Cruz-Osorio, Team Leader, Responsive and Accountable Institutions, UNDP

Civil service workshop in AzerbaijanEnsuring gender equality in public institutions starts with gathering strong data. Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan
The bad news first: we don’t know the exact state of gender equality in the world’s public institutions. The good news: once we begin monitoring this, it will be harder to ignore inequalities in the public service, which we anecdotally know exist on a global scale. The Sustainable Development Goals have thrust us into a data revolution and we have impetus to make sure it is a gendered revolution. Inclusive governance is at the core of SDG 16 on peaceful and just societies. And so, SDG 16 has set out to measure the composition of public institutions. Without this information, governments will not have the evidence necessary for designing policies that foster equal access to and opportunities within public administration. … Read more

Hope for people living with HIV in post-earthquake Nepal

24 Apr 2016 by Bharat Man Shrestha, Former LGBT Human Rights, HIV and Law Officer, UNDP Nepal

Binod Kumar Tamang is receiving health care service at Trishuli Plus, Nuwakot. Photo: UNDP Nepal
A year ago, 20-year old Binod Kumar Tamang found out he was infected with HIV. He lives with his mother in Nuwakot district in the central region of Nepal. When Binod tested positive for HIV, one of the hospital’s staff introduced him to Trishuli Plus, a community-based organization that also serves as a community crisis center. It was established to provide HIV-related health services, support and home-based care for people living with HIV in the district and the surrounding areas. Binod started going to the clinic for treatment and support. After the earthquake struck Nepal last April, Nuwakot district was one of the hardest hit regions. Hospitals and community care centers were among the most affected facilities and many were destroyed. The provision of health services was disrupted, leaving people in need of basic supplies and treatment. … Read more