Why the last 50 years are key for the next 15

16 Mar 2016 by Jessica Faieta, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

The next 15 yearsAchieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean will mean reaching out to the most disadvantaged groups, including indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, women and youth. Photo: UNDP Guatemala
Of the five decades that UNDP celebrates this year, I have lived half of them in the organization, in different roles. Our story began focusing on world poverty, on the most at-need women and men in the post-colonial era, with the emergence of new, independent countries beginning to trace their own paths to prosperity. In Latin America and the Caribbean we have supported many countries in their transition to democracy, also in various national truth and justice commissions and strengthening institutional capacities. Our partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector has also been crucial to innovative public policies and job creation initiatives that have helped improve the lives of millions of people. Looking back 50 years, the concept of development has shifted. … Read more

Timely rejuvenation of the African Peer Review Mechanism?

19 Feb 2016 by By David Omozuafoh, Programme Advisor, APRM and Governance Assessment, UNDP Africa

Efforts should be made to include all segments of society in the APRM process. UNDP Photo
Six years before the 2014 Burkina Faso uprising, the country’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) report identified “omnipresent weight and domination of the majority, which seems to ‘block’ the democratic system and stifle multiparty politics”. The assessment called on authorities to “provide appropriate responses and solutions to bring about the necessary change”. In South Africa, the 2007 APRM report stated that “xenophobia against other Africans is currently on the rise and should be nipped in the bud.” Dozens of migrants have since lost their lives in attacks. … Read more

The perils of commodity price volatility

12 Feb 2016 by Degol Hailu, Senior Advisor, UNDP and Chinpihoi Kipgen, Research Associate, UNDP

Coal sellers in BurundiWhile a possible option to to compensate for the fall in commodities' prices, cutbacks in public expenditure will hinder progress towards the sustainable development agenda. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP in Burundi
Since 2011, the price of oil has fallen by 51%. Copper, coal and iron ore prices have dropped by 38%, 53% and 67%, respectively. Commodity dependent countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are facing serious fiscal and balance of payment deficits, hindering the progress towards the sustainable development agenda. Our experts consider 5 possible short-term options to compensate for the fall in prices and their drawbacks. … Read more

Young people are building peace in Colombia

02 Feb 2016 by Karin Andersson, Advisor, Participation and culture of peace, UNDP Colombia

UNDP has supported the actions of more than 10,000 college students from across Colombia to participate in peace talks. Photo: UNDP Colombia
Why have young people embraced the opportunity to lead and participate in the efforts to build peace in Colombia? Perhaps it is because in over sixty years, Colombians haven’t known one day of peace? At a festival for peace last year in the province of Norte de Santander, a young woman told me that “this is a unique opportunity to get to know a country that I’ve never really known, a country in which no one dies because of a war.” Colombia is a country with a unique geography and history that produced a rich cultural diversity. Each region of the country has its own unique cultural and social norms. With this in mind, the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the left wing FARC guerrillas highlight the importance of peace building at the local level. … Read more

A recipe for sustainable development

26 Jan 2016 by Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors

Roca brothers visit marketThe Roca Brothers have a walk at the food market in New York to look at the local food products. Photo: Freya Morales/UNDP
Food has always been a central part of our lives: the food in our parents’ restaurant where we grew up; food as an element of creativity, emotion, dialogue and discovery in our work. Food is an important part of our heart and soul. Over the years, we realized that how people experience food, cook, and preserve culinary traditions have a direct impact on the fundamental areas of life. What we eat affects our health, our economy, and our planet. … Read more

A new, ambitious vision requires new, ambitious ways of working

14 Jan 2016 by Rosemary Kalapurakal, Incoming UNDP Lead Advisor on the 2030 Agenda, UNDP

people in train stationIndian Railways is the single largest consumer of electricity in India, consuming 17.5 billion units a year. As track and passengers continue to grow, being more energy efficient, and exploring clean sources of energy is central to the Railways vision for the future. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/UNDP India
31 December 2015: During a visit to Kerala, India, I drive past gleaming malls and the skeleton of a new metro in a hometown virtually unrecognizable from my childhood. But I also see stubborn challenges, like the very poor left behind in this economy and the deteriorating quality of air and food. 1 January 2016: A new year begins, with a new era in the quest to combat poverty, inequality, and climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come into force, part of a “2030 Agenda” for the next 15 years, to achieve development where progress in one sector is not at the expense of another, where present gains do not threaten that of future generations. … Read more

For a young Haitian, hope beyond the earthquake

12 Jan 2016 by Alejandro Pacheco, Strategic Advisor for UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean

young manOriental was born in a slum area of Port au Prince. Before the earthquake hit, life had already hit him hard. Photo: Raul de la Fuente/Kanaki Films
Oriental Meliance was born in Haiti in 1990. When he was 10 years old, world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Oriental was among the 2 billion poor worldwide classified as living on less than US$1.25 a day. By the time he turned 25 in 2015, the world had halved the number of poor. These huge numbers eclipse the real faces of people, like Oriental. … Read more

Six ways to define poverty, according to 5-year-olds

05 Jan 2016 by Carolina Azevedo, Communications Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

How kids define povertyAsked to define poverty, kids give insightful answers. Photo: Renato Contreras/UNDP Peru
Forget about the ‘grandmother rule’ of journalism—or the ‘aunt rule’, depending on the country. According to this principle, you have to explain your message as simply as possible so even your grandmother, or aunt, will understand. I wonder why it’s never the grandfather or the uncle. But that’s a whole other topic... After lecturing to a group of 20 kindergarten students on what UNDP does (sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and other weird terms) I realize that the rule should be: communicate clearly enough so even a 5-year-old will understand your message. … Read more

Our perspectives in 2015

30 Dec 2015 by Karen Cirillo, Web Editor and Margaret Egbula, Web Editor

woman and child in Viet NamSung Thi My, 18, hopes that, unlike her, all her children will have the opportunity to go to school, to get better jobs, and to have a life she could only dream about. Photo: Nguyen Viet Lan/UNDP Viet Nam
With a new global agreement on climate change and the launch of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs), 2015 has been a momentous year. Throughout it all, UNDP bloggers have helped to put it all into perspective. This year, UNDP’s blog featured its highest number of posts (208) from more than 150 different authors. From regional policy experts to organizational leaders to country-level programme advisors, these writers shared diverse perspectives of UNDP’s work. Here are some of the highlights. … Read more

Focusing development efforts around the MDGs was not always easy

28 Dec 2015 by Sheila Marnie, Programme Advisor, Sustainable Development Cluster, Istanbul Regional Hub, UNDP

Local officials in UzbekistanLocal officials in Uzbekistan take part in team building exercises. Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
I remember meeting with partners in the Cabinet of Ministers in 2002-3, working as a poverty reduction consultant. I was advised not to bring up the topic of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) with government officials, as it would be insulting for them to compare their country with other developing countries. The Government officials were very proud of Uzbekistan’s well-developed health, education, and social protection systems and would not want to be associated with hunger and starving, unprotected children. … Read more