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

Helen Clark welcomes Pope Francis' climate change encyclical

18 Jun 2015 by John Aravosis, Manager, Online and Digital Team, UNDP

UNDP Administrator Helen ClarkBuilding resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector is a central issue in Lao PDR, where almost a third of GDP (29.9 percent) is generated through the agriculture sector, and approximately 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. Photo: Luke McPake/UNDP Laos
Pope Francis today issued an encyclical in which he called climate change a “principal challenge” for humanity. In the 184-page letter, Pope Francis noted that the poor are the most vulnerable to climate change, and the Pontiff urged that “swift action” be taken to “confront the crisis.” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark praised the Pope’s climate message. … 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

If oceans were a country...

08 Jun 2015 by Johan Robinson, Technical Advisor for Sustainable Development, UNDP Asia Pacific

Fishermen in waters off São Tomé and PríncipeIf the ocean were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s. Photo: UNDP São Tomé and Príncipe
I recently went diving among some of the amazing coral reefs of Indonesia. Their sheer beauty is beyond description, and their value is beyond calculation. But let’s try to put it in perspective. The World Wildlife Fund recently estimated that the total asset base of the ocean is valued at US$24 trillion, and the annual “gross marine product” is at least US$2.5 trillion. If the ocean were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s. … 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

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

Sustainable energy, climate change and disasters

18 May 2015 by Martin Krause, Head of Global Energy Policy and Regional Climate, Energy and Disaster Resilience Team Leader for Europe and Central Asia

Man lighting an improved wood stoveEnergy efficient cook stoves require less wood or charcoal and thus reduce deforestation and land degradation, helping to avert landslides and floods. Photo: UNDP Burundi
In 2007, a lack of rainfall resulted in low water levels in rivers and lakes in Albania, severely hampering hydropower generation and resulting in frequent power outages across the country. Examples such as this exemplify the relationship between energy and development, highlighting how insufficient and intermittent energy access hampers development progress. … 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

Financing for development in resource-rich countries

01 May 2015 by Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Development

Photo: UNDP in Zimbabwe
Decline in commodity prices is threatening the availability of funds for development. A promising option for resource-rich countries is to capture a bigger share of the profits generated from the exploitation of their natural resources. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more

Africa and Climate Finance – The state of the debate

23 Apr 2015 by Alice Ruhweza, Regional Team Leader for the Global Environment Finance Unit in Africa

Climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people in Africa. Photo: Benjamin Larroquette/ UNDp in Zambia
Climate finance to Africa has been growing considerably. However, only 45% of approved funding is delivered for adaptation measures. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more