From signatures to action

21 Apr 2016 by Jazmine Burgess, Climate Change Specialist, UNDP

man and woman plantingClimate change requires a global commitment and national level action- neither is mutually exclusive.
When governments gather at the UN to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, an important step will be taken to ensure the ambition, momentum and political will of December’s COP 21. Global buy-in is essential for any international agreement to be successful, but what often receives less attention is the equal importance of concrete action at country level to advance an agreement’s objectives. This is critical for the successful implementation of any agreement, and what makes a document negotiated thousands of miles away a tangible reality and source of support to national governments around the world. … Read more

Paris. Women. Now what?

19 Apr 2016 by Allison Towle, Programme Analyst, Climate Change, UNDP

women farmingIn Mali, a women’s collective helps enhance their resilience by strengthening food security. Photo: Imen Meliane / UNDP Mali
Coming off the heels of the climate change negotiations in Paris in December, which led to a momentous agreement for acting collectively on climate change, we have reason to feel proud and energized. Now our focus shifts to how we can support countries in implementing their climate targets or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). This will only be possible if we tap the knowledge, foresight, engagement, and action of all segments of our societies, especially those of women. … Read more

Protecting (scarce) fresh water in the Maldives

15 Apr 2016 by Keti Chachibaia, Regional Technical Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub

man and desalination plantA local Feneka operator stands in front of the desalinization system. Photo: Keti Chachibaia/UNDP Maldives
Water is a big deal in the Maldives. The archipelago nation of 300,000 people is more water than land. But while abundant in ocean resources, the only freshwater is rainwater that is harvested in special collection tanks. But poor rainfall leaves groundwater tables low and harvesting tanks half empty. This leaves many people and communities straining resources to buy bottled water or struggling to get by. A naturally vulnerable situation is only being exacerbated by climate change, as monsoonal cycles and associated rainfall patterns shift over the Indian Ocean. Greater variations are already occurring and the Maldivians, especially in the Northern atolls, experience longer-than-usual dry seasons. As a result, the National Disaster Management Centre is regularly called upon to deliver emergency water. … Read more

Help make the Angry Birds happy

18 Mar 2016 by Red, UN Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness

Red eating under a tree
I’m an Angry Bird, but I can’t help but be happy today. I am being designated by the United Nations Secretary-General as the Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness, which is Sunday, 20 March. It’s enough to warm my little Red heart! On this day, we are celebrating the planet that serves as our home. Everyone knows how much I love my home. Chuck, Bomb, Matilda and I won’t let any pigs hurt it. But our problems are bigger than those nasty pigs – we need to protect our home from climate change, too. … Read more

The Paris Agreement brings potential for transparency

17 Mar 2016 by Rocío Noriega, Coordinator, Anti-corruption program, UNDP Chile and Sergio García, Communications Manager, Environment and Energy, UNDP Chile

In Paris, a public registry of NDC in the first half of 2016 was created, with the mission to collect all contributions to global climate action. Photo: UNDP Guatemala
COP21 closed with the adoption the first universal agreement to combat climate change. This agreement pledges to contain global warming well below 2° C, adapt better to climate impacts, and enable a more effective flow of climate change funding to developing countries. This is truly innovative because it will commit countries to be publically accountable regarding everything they do to combat climate change at the national level. The new global climate agreement does not impose quotas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions nor concrete adaptation plans. On the contrary, it relies directly on the commitments that each country decides to make internally – intended nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This is why it is necessary to reach the set reduction target of 2° C. … Read more

Since 1966, UNDP has worked for a more fair and prosperous world for all

23 Feb 2016 by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Park rangers in Band-e-Amir National Park, where UNDP runs projects with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Global Environment Fund’s Small Grants Programme to protect the environment and provide clean energy to local residents. Photo: Robert Few / UNDP Afghanistan
Fifty years ago, one in every three people around the world was living in poverty. It was against that backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was founded in 1966. Ever since, UNDP has been a leader in working for a more fair and prosperous world for all. We have worked with governments, civil society, the private sector, and philanthropy to empower people and build resilient nations. As UNDP begins its second half century, the numbers of people in poverty have decreased to around one in eight. UNDP is proud to have worked with many partners committed to poverty eradication. … Read more

Making airports fit for emergencies

27 Jan 2016 by Uthira Ravikumar, Programme Analyst, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDP

 Workers perform a GARD simulation at Rafic Harriri Airport in Lebanon. Photo: UNDP Lebanon
In March 2015, two major earthquakes hit Nepal, requiring a fast and vast humanitarian response. But authorities were forced to close the only international airport that could accommodate large aircraft, as its runway was deteriorating under the weight of the large planes. Delays ensued in the arrival of both relief goods and personnel. Nepal’s situation is not unique. During major disasters, authorities and relief suppliers often face serious delays due to the strain on capacities, leaving relief supplies piling up or emergency materials and personnel held up at customs. Managing the logistics of large scale disaster response is a complex operation. It involves military and civil agencies leading an effort that includes dozens or even hundreds of stakeholders. … 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

Post-Paris: paving the way for zero carbon growth

18 Dec 2015 by - Jo Scheuer, Director of Climate Change and DRR, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

women in mountainsIn 2016, we will build on our $2.3 billion climate portfolio across 140 countries and expand our support on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Photo: UNDP Turkey
Having witnessed the international community reach (and celebrate) a global climate deal in Paris last week, I have been reflecting on the journey that brought us here, as well as picturing the long but important road ahead. First, while there has been much talk about the relative significance of the Paris agreement, I would like to echo a sentiment expressed by the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert: the deal is a success simply because the alternative was no deal at all. Business as usual is not an option, and the Paris agreement, while not perfect, is a landmark that brings together 196 parties. The bottom-up nature of the agreement is certainly a worthy first step. … Read more

What does the COP21 Paris Agreement mean for Africa?

17 Dec 2015

Deux volontaires plantent un jeune arbre dans une cour d'école à Goma, province du nord Kivu en RD Congo. Photo: MONUSCO/ Sylvain Liechti
On 12 December 2015, delegates from more than 190 nations at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21), agreed to the Paris Agreement, an ambitious global plan to tackle climate change. As a next step in implementation, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene a high level signing ceremony on 22 April 2016 in New York, USA, and the agreement can only enter into force once it has been ratified by 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of emissions. But what does this deal mean for Africa? … Read more