Building a better future for Syrians in Turkey

23 May 2016 by Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey

Syrian refugees crossing into TurkeySyrian Kurdish refugees cross into Turkey from Syria, near the town of Kobani. The war that erupted in Syria in 2011 has propelled it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement. Photo: I. Prickett/UNHCR
As thousands leave Syria for safer lands, images of white tents and perilous boat journeys have flooded the world’s media. But there’s another side to this story. In Turkey, the host of this week’s World Humanitarian Summit, only about 10 percent of the approximately 2.75 million displaced people from Syria live in refugee camps. The rest live in towns and cities like many of us. Across the country’s southeast, Syrians are silently trying to make a living and blend in. … Read more

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

Despite global climate pledge, indigenous activists are under attack

13 May 2016 by Laurence Klein, Programme Specialist for Indigenous Participation, Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP

Historically indigenous peoples have assumed an important role in the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems. Photo: UNDP Venezuela
Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was the main promoter of the campaign against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras. In 2015, her work won her the Goldman Environmental Prize, the highest international recognition for environmental advocates. On 3 March 2016, her dedication to her people and the environment likely got her killed. In a recent report entitled “How many more?” Global Witness analyzes 116 murders of environmentalists in 2014 and confirms that three-quarters occurred in Latin America. The report states that Honduras is the most dangerous country per capita for environmental activists, with 101 killed between 2010 and 2014. Equally disturbing is that the percentage of indigenous victims like Berta rose to 40 percent in 2015. … Read more

Migrants mean business

09 May 2016 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Well-managed migration contributes to preventing crisis and supports achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: UNDP FYR of Macedonia
Human mobility is inevitable and unstoppable. It is also on the rise. People are moving to increase their income, study, join other family members or flee persecution, wars, violence, natural disasters and dire poverty. People have always moved. Globalization has made population movements faster, better-informed and more voluminous. Wrong policies have also made them less safe, if not outright perilous. 3.3 percent of the world’s population lives outside their country of origin, and this number is growing. Population growth, violent conflicts, climate change and other factors are driving more and more people to move within and between countries. While we cannot prevent human migration, and why would we, it is possible to make population movements safer through the adoption and implementation of effective migration regimes—the right set of institutions, laws and policies—that also generate multiple and sustainable development benefits. … Read more