A new Global Alliance to 'think urban' in humanitarian response

03 Jun 2016 by Amy Gill, Local Governance Specialist, Responsive and Accountable Institutions Team, UNDP

Downtown Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Habitat
The humanitarian situation is changing. There are now more refugees and internally displaced persons than at any time since the end of the Second World War and 60 percent of these are in urban areas. We need to ‘think urban’ when we design our responses to these increasing crises. Rapid and poorly planned urbanization is driving vulnerability in towns and cities around the world. Humanitarian emergencies are increasingly occurring in towns and cities. Responding to this reality requires new ways of working. Major international humanitarian responses are often not closely tied to local municipal actors that understand their communities’ ongoing needs. … Read more

Changing the discourse on humanitarian innovations and partnerships

01 Jun 2016 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist on Innovation, UNDP

Young women and men review crime statistics and add their stories to complete the picture at the 2015 Youth and Innovation Exchange in St. Lucia. Photo: UNDP Barbados
How can new data sources and real-time information systems improve decision-making? This is a question UNDP and its partners, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and Datapop Alliance, were asking at a side-event at the World Humanitarian Summit, together with the Governments of Denmark and Finland, which fund innovation in UN agencies. Innovation and data are important themes in humanitarian relief, as well as in the larger Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda. It underpins the entire agenda as a vehicle to solve wicked challenges across all the SDGs. … Read more

Humanitarian action makes sound business sense

31 May 2016 by Marcos Neto, Director, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development

Private sector, individual companies and philanthropic actors support humanitarian action and development in many countries. Photo: UNCT
In February, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, resulting in loss of life, disruption to business supply chains and damage to properties. The estimated cost to the Fijian economy was US$470 million. Imagine the even greater impact to the Philippines, which is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, five of which are destructive. The challenges the world is facing right now are overwhelming. More than 130 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the world today. Some 60 million people have been forcibly displaced. UN-coordinated plans to provide life-saving aid and protection to the most vulnerable people require nearly US$21 billion each year. … Read more

In high-risk areas, UNDP-Japan partnership delivers on human security

26 May 2016 by Mitsuaki Mizuno, Special Advisor, Japan Unit, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

The Tokyo League uses sports to encourage Palestinian youth in the face of conflict and other hardships. Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs Takeshi Okubo attended the Tokyo League table tennis championships in Gaza. The league uses sports to encourage Palestinian youth in the face of conflict and other hardships. Photo: Shareef Sarhan/UNDP PAPP
I’ll never forget watching the final match of the Tokyo League volleyball tournament. It was heart-warming to see the students, wearing their scarves known as Hijab, playing the game with delight, their eyes shining with joy. It seemed like a memorable experience also for the team, who have no opportunity to explore the world beyond the wall. As you might have guessed by now, the Tokyo League doesn’t play in Japan. The league, which began as an initiative of the Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs, Takeshi Okubo, competes 9,000 miles away in Gaza. … Read more

Cyclone Roanu is a reminder: We must focus on preventing crises, even as we respond to them

24 May 2016 by Khurshid Alam, Assistant Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh

As leaders gather for the World Humanitarian Summit, Cyclone Roanu has displaced half a million people in Bangladesh. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh
As the World Humanitarian Summit unfolds and leaders discuss the humanitarian impact of rising crises and disasters, half a million people are currently displaced in Bangladesh. Cyclone Roanu pummeled the Bangladesh coastline on 21 May with 55mph winds and floodwaters several feet high. Making landfall in the country’s southeast, the cyclone brought devastation to areas unaffected by cyclones for the past 25 years. Where there used to be crops there is now salt water – the sea surrounding even the cyclone shelter. … Read more