Long days and nights on the road to Paris

08 Oct 2015 by Cassie Flynn, Policy Specialist, Climate Change, UNDP

Community members planting trees with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. Photo: Jackie Curtis/UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. It is 1 September and I am sitting at a table in the basement of the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, with a group of delegates from ten countries. We are discussing a proposal regarding how the crucial element of finance will be included in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We are exhausted, yet determined—this is the second to last negotiation session before countries gather in Paris for the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to agree on a new, universal deal on climate change. … Read more

Collecting stories from chaos

02 Oct 2015 by Farah Abdessamad, Lead, Livelihood and Economic Recovery Programme, UNDP Yemen and Summayya Al Amrani, Project Coordinator, SenseMaker, Yemen

yemeni peopleA Sensemaker survey taker collect data in Sana'a.
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. The war here in Yemen has caused over 4,000 civilians deaths and 1.4 million Yemenis to be internally displaced since March. To examine the impact of this war, UNDP Yemen turned to citizens to hear their daily hardships and identify opportunities to restore livelihoods. But the survey we’re conducting is very different from traditional assessments and our respondents are interested and curious. … Read more

Overcoming bottlenecks helps speed up MDG progress

29 Sep 2015 by Babatunde Omilola, Team Leader, Development Planning and Inclusive Sustainable Growth Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS), UNDP

woman and health care workerIn Nepal, Radhika Mijay is receiving community home based care service from Trishuli Plus, which provides HIV-related health services and support. The staff visits her home monthly. Photo: GMB Akash/UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. In the early 2000s, soon after world leaders established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), I was a development researcher. I participated in many intellectual debates and discussions about the MDGs and the process of adapting them into national development plans and strategies. There were polarizing debates and heated arguments on whether or not the world should shift attention from focusing exclusively on economic growth in developing countries to human development and broader development outcomes. … Read more

South-South cooperation brings strong partnerships to the new development agenda

24 Sep 2015 by Xiaojun Grace Wang, Lead Adviser, South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

South Sudanese menSouth Sudanese attend a planning workshop in Juba. UNDP supports Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to send civil servants for two-year terms in South Sudan to provide peer coaching to their counterparts. Photo: Jennifer Warren/UNDP
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” The new sustainable development agenda recognizes the importance of partnerships to achieving the Global Goals. This agenda presents the opportunity for a new and inclusive global partnership, of which South-South Cooperation (SSC) forms an integral part. South-South Cooperation (SSC) is the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between countries of the global South. It’s about developing countries extending helping hands to each other to tackle development challenges together. … Read more

Using ancient traditions to break new economic ground

21 Sep 2015 by Tashi Dorji, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Portfolio Manager, UNDP in Bhutan

group of farmers in BhutanThe farmers' group ‘Dangdung Menrig Tshogpa’ participates in an awareness programme on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework in Bhutan. Photo: UNDP Bhutan
Here in Bhutan, the people of Namther and Dangdung communities have been collecting 47 different varieties of medicinal plants. After more than 50 years of collecting plants and making traditional medicine, the villagers have found another way to reap the benefits of biological resources to enhance their livelihoods. With support from UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and Japan’s Nagoya Protocol, the communities have taken a giant leap from collecting traditional medicine plants for personal use to providing resources for commercial products. For communities whose livelihoods primarily depend on seasonal subsistence farming, using biological resources helps them fill in the deficit. … Read more

The future is made in China

18 Sep 2015 by Louise Xi Li, Associate Communications Officer, UNDP in China

data visualizationFuturescaper combines human insight and analytics together with data visualization.
China is a complex, diverse, and dynamic country. Home to internet companies worth billions of dollars, it has more web users than the population of the United States. Many are familiar with the “Made in China” label. But a label not frequently applied to China? “The Future is made in China.” In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on innovation in development practice. … Read more

Around the world, the Social Good Summit celebrates the Global Goals

16 Sep 2015 by Boaz Paldi, Communications and Partnerships, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Flag raisingThe 2015 Social Good Summit kicks off in Beijing with a flag-raising ceremony. Photo: UNDP China
The 2015 Social Good Summit (SGS) held in over 100 countries as the UN General Assembly convened, unites people from all over the world around a common purpose: using social media, innovation, and technology to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. … Read more

Avoid stigma when measuring SDG achievements

10 Sep 2015 by By Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor, UNDP

The methodology used to measure MDG progress underestimated the relative good performance made by the least developed countries, particularly Sub-Saharan African countries. Photo: UNDP Burkina Faso
At the upcoming United Nations Summit, member states will reach an agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Development practitioners will then engage in monitoring the achievements of the goals and targets. As was the case with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), country, regional and global level progress reports are likely to proliferate. Just to recall, MDG monitoring reports were not free from criticism … Read more

Youth: not simply human beings, but human becomings

26 Aug 2015 by Jon Hall, Policy specialist, Human Development Report Office

youth in ZambiaZambian youth at a UNDP consultation. Investment in youth and their input is crucial to long-term and sustainable development. Photo: UNDP Zambia
It is important to remember that considering development from a youth perspective is not always straightforward. Even defining exactly when someone should be considered “young” can be tricky and varies between reports. Listening to the views of young people will almost certainly require an investment of time and money, so development policies that are formulated with the input of young people will cost more to develop. But those policies will almost certainly work better and last longer, as today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders. … Read more

We need to get better at "killing our darlings"

25 Aug 2015 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist, Innovation at UNDP

"The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up", painting by J. M. W. Turner, 1838.
Reading James Whitehead’s post on the best ways to be innovative, I found myself nodding to most of his reflections. Particularly: ”I want to be working with people who are passionate about solving problems at scale rather than magpies obsessed with finding shiny new innovative solutions.” Yet, I felt something more needed to be said. The well-known side of innovation is the creative one. We identify novel ways of doing business, co-create new ideas with the end-users, and test them. The flip side of innovation is to discontinue practices for which we do not have sufficient evidence of impact or that are no longer relevant. … Read more