Bashi's journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come

28 Oct 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

Somali youthYoung Somali men participate in a vocational training and education program in Burao, Somaliland. But as Africa’s population grows, the number of people escaping conflict in countries like Somalia will continue to rise. Photo: UNDP Somalia
Bashi, a young man who fled from conflict in Somalia, is one of many Africans making the journey to Europe for a better life. … Read more

We must address political economy of growth without development in Africa

23 Oct 2015 by Jean-Luc Stalon, Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Mali

Female entrepreneurs in BurundiIn 2014, 26 % of Africans created businesses, compared with 7.4 % in Europe and 13.4 % in the US. Photo: Aude Rossignol / UNDP in Burundi
In Africa, many countries with sustained economic growth continue to display extreme levels of inequality and poverty. Access to higher education, with an overall rate of 7 % of the population, is the lowest in the world. Despite the continent being one of the biggest producers of petroleum and having huge hydropower capacity, 621 million Africans don’t have access to electricity. The risk of a child dying before completing five years of age is still highest in the world — 81 per 1,000 live birth — about seven times higher than that in Europe. Understanding the causes of this paradox is likely to dominate the next decade of policy thinking. … Read more

Ending LGBTI discrimination is key to achieving SDGs

29 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Transgender activists in BrazilTransgender activists in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil, during a mobilization campaign for civil registry change and LGBT rights. Photo: Daniel de Castro/UNDP Brazil.
The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals embody a powerful commitment to achieving a life of dignity for all. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. That's why we at UNDP are pleased to join in the UN statement on ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. … Read more

End impunity for corruption to boost resources for development

23 Sep 2015 by Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Anti-corruption protestActivists attend a rally for International Anti-Corruption Day in Bangkok. Photo: UNDP Thailand
Ending impunity was the main topic at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference that took place this month in Malaysia. Most topics discussed at the conference resonated well with the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16 on building peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Goal 16 is a victory for the anti-corruption movement as for the first time, the development agenda makes an explicit link between good governance and fighting corruption and peace, justice and inclusive development. … Read more

Amidst crisis, helping mothers and newborn to embrace life

15 Sep 2015 by Rasha Al-Shargabi, Field Manager, Youth Economic Empowerment Programme, UNDP in Yemen

two Yemeni womenA future midwife is training in filling out assessment forms as part of a national midwife association training on community mapping. Photo: Rasha Alshargabi/UNDP Yemen
Four-year-old Mohammed caught my eye with his naughty looks and the great amount of happiness housed his little body. I was amused watching him play with other children in the open ground in his village in Alsilw district, Taizz. Only later did I learn that his mother died during labor due to a lack of health care services. I thought of how the world would be for a little child without a mother nurturing him. … Read more

From neglect to respect: Changing Georgia's mental health approach

15 Sep 2015 by Lisa Lenz, Democratic governance intern, UNDP in Georgia

hospitalPsychiatric hospital in Tbilisi. Photo: Melissa Stonehill/UNDP
Visiting a psychiatric clinic can leave a lasting impression. I had the opportunity to visit a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi to meet the doctors and experts taking part in designing a national reform of mental healthcare in Georgia. The first thing I noticed was the hospital’s size. The huge concrete building looked left over from the Soviet era. Even after entering, it seemed more like an administrative center than a hospital housing more than 150 patients. … Read more

Making education the gateway in Tanzania's growth

15 Sep 2015 by Amarakoon Bandara, Economic Advisor, UNDP in Zimbabwe

kids sit in circleConsultative process in Tanzania on post-2015 with young people while filming the documentary ‘Listen to Us’. Photo: UNFPA
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. With a per capita income of just around $310 in 2000, Tanzania’s march towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was a remarkable story – a very poor country putting so much effort into so many areas. Tanzania won’t achieve most of the goals, but the efforts it has made are noteworthy. One goal that stands out is the MDG 2: to achieve universal primary education by 2015. … Read more

Protecting and ensuring space for civil society

14 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

 For an individual to fully belong to and be recognized in society they must have the most basic legal documentation to which they are entitled by law. Sri Lankans register for birth certificates and National Identiy Cards (NIC) at a mobile legal aid clinic. Photo: UNDP in Sri Lanka
This year’s theme for the International Day of Democracy, “Making Space for Civil Society”, is extremely timely. Reports by many civil society organisations and networks – many of which are echoed in the recently released State of Civil Society Report 2015 by CIVICUS – point to the worrying number of at least 96 countries where serious threats to civic freedoms were reported in 2014. The scale and the depth of these threats is of great concern. I agree with UNDP’s Civil Society Advisory Committee, whose “first and foremost concern is the shrinking legal, policy and participatory space for civil society activists and organizations, in an increasing number of countries across regions and political regimes.” While it was once true that countries in crisis and post-conflict periods are the ones where civil societies have been most at risk, we now see similar threats spreading across a range of development contexts. … Read more

An AIDS-free generation was simply unimaginable

01 Sep 2015 by Kazuyuki Uji, Policy Specialist, HIV, Health and Inclusive Development, Bangkok Regional Hub, UNDP

community activistsIn Asia, the community of people living with HIV contributed to achieving the MDG 6 targets of halting and reversing the spread of HIV and putting 15 million people on HIV treatment by 2015. Photo: UNDP/Kazuyuki Uji
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. On 14 July 2015, the UN Secretary General made a historical announcement: “Together, we have achieved and exceeded the AIDS-related targets of Millennium Development Goal 6... [W]e are on our way to an AIDS-free generation.” This was simply unimaginable around the period I joined UNDP in early 2000’s when HIV was still thriving in Asia and HIV treatment was a luxury for the privileged few. … Read more

To promote women’s leadership in the public sector, we need better data

28 Aug 2015 by By Ciara Lee, Consultant, Gender Equality in Public Administration, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Civil service support officers provide on-the-job training to their South Sudanese counterparts as part of a UNDP governance project. Photo: Brian Sokol/UNDP South Sudan
Public administration is the foundation of government and a major employer in most countries. As such, women’s participation in the civil service is vital for their economic empowerment as well as for improving the responsiveness and effectiveness of public services. While some progress has been achieved in terms of women’s political leadership, verifiable data on women’s participation in public administration is lacking. In response to this, UNDP launched the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative. … Read more