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

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

Leave no one and no city behind

02 May 2016 by Hanne Kristoffersen, Crisis Governance Specialist, UNDP

By Tammam Azzam, Freedom Graffiti II.By Tammam Azzam, Freedom Graffiti II
The world has witnessed rapid and often unplanned urban growth. Cities are where the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost. Between now and 2030, the world’s urban population is projected to grow by 1.5 billion people. More than 90 percent of that urban growth will occur in areas located in the developing world, mostly in Africa and Asia. Urbanization and cities present opportunities for enhancing the economic prospects of countries and improving the lives of many. But rapid urbanization and rapidly expanding cities also pose challenges, especially to countries already grappling with a range of development priorities. Frequently, the urbanization process is poorly managed, resulting in inequitable, exclusionary and fragmented cities with marginalized populations. This can fuel an increased risk of violence. … Read more

Expanding financing options to advance the 2030 Agenda in the least developed countries

28 Apr 2016 by Philippe Orliange, Director of strategy, partnerships and communication at the AFD and Pedro Conceição, Director of Strategic Policy at UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Meeting the aspiration of leaving no one behind implies focusing greater attention to those living in the Least Developed Countries. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi
2015 was a milestone year for international cooperation on sustainable development. The Paris Agreement shows the commitment of the international community to tackle climate change. The 2030 Agenda, also adopted in 2015, puts forward 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to protect people and planet. Meeting the aspiration of leaving no one behind, and reaching the furthest behind first, implies focusing greater attention to those living in the Least Developed Countries. This group of countries includes those with the lowest levels of income per person, poor health and education levels, and high vulnerability to economic, health and other shocks and disasters. … Read more

Human Development – the Way Ahead

27 Apr 2016 by By Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office, UNDP

The 2016 report will look into conceptual matters that were not made explicit in past reports such as the interconnectedness of choices (e.g. an individual’s choice to play loud music has an impact on the choice of quiet time by others). Photo: UNDP in DRC
Over the last quarter of a century, Human Development Reports have extensively influenced the development discourse, provided a strong lens to assess human well-being, and informed policy making. But the world today is different from 1990. Impressive human development progress has been achieved; yet advances have been uneven and significant deprivations still persist. As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states, there is a critical need for a transformational change in development, so that no one is left behind. From a human development perspective, the time has come to focus on three fundamental aspects: extending the frontiers of the paradigm, reviewing how human development is measured; and revisiting the policy options linking various strategies and focusing on institutions at country and global level. This is why the theme of the jubilee HDR is Human Development – the Way Ahead. … Read more

If prevention is the best cure, we have to do better in fragile states

04 Apr 2016 by Claire Leigh, Advisor, New Deal Implementation Support, Strategic Policy Unit, UNDP

Justice and security are central to crisis recovery in fragile countries. In Somaliland, Sexual Assault Referral Centres have been established with UNDP’s support. Photo: UNDP Somalia
Not all humanitarian crises can be anticipated or prevented, but man-made crises involving conflict and state failure can be and must be. This puts states affected by conflict and fragility front and centre of discussions leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit in May. This week, the 5th Global Meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Stockholm will emphasize the connection between revitalising the fragile states agenda and addressing the recent surge in humanitarian crises. In 2011, the International Dialogue oversaw the adoption of the New Deal For Engagement In Fragile States, a landmark international framework signed by over 40 major bilateral and multilateral agencies and countries. … Read more

Six reasons you should care about (yet) another international summit

01 Apr 2016 by Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator, Crisis Response Unit leader

women at marketLebanese women sell clothes at the UNDP-supported Marj market in the village of Marj in the Bekaa Valley, east of Lebanon. The project helps support communities who are hosting Syrian refugees. Photo: Dalia Khamissy/UNDP
On May 23rd, world leaders will come together for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Istanbul. I know that sentence won't necessarily make you want to read on. I get it. But here are six reasons why this summit deserves your attention. 1. Because the scale of the humanitarian crisis is no exaggeration We have the highest level of humanitarian needs since the Second World War. More than 60 million people have had to flee their homes--the majority women and children. And the average length of displacement is now 17 years. Conflicts are more complex than ever before and, according to some estimates, the cost of conflict and violence now accounts for more than 13 % of the total global economy. Climate change adds extra volatility to the situation. … Read more

Are women and girls more vulnerable to tuberculosis and malaria?

23 Mar 2016 by Caitlin Boyce, Policy Specialist, HIV, Gender, Rights and Development, Health, HIV and Development Group, UNDP

woman at clinicA woman visits a tuberculosis clinic in Iraq. Photo: Safin Hamed/UNDP
Are tuberculosis (TB) and malaria still a widespread threat? Popular belief says no. But, in fact, they are still grave health challenges that need more attention, especially in how they are affected by gender. The World Health Organization recently reported that TB now ranks alongside HIV as the leading cause of death from infectious disease. And the disease has a disproportionate effect on women. Today, TB kills more women globally than any other single infectious disease, and more women die annually from TB than from all causes of maternal mortality combined. Some TB symptoms can also affect men and women in profoundly different ways. For example, women have a higher prevalence of genital TB, which is difficult to diagnose and has been identified as an important cause of infertility in settings with high TB incidence. … Read more