Six reasons you should care about (yet) another international summit

01 Apr 2016 by Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator, Crisis Response Unit leader

women at marketLebanese women sell clothes at the UNDP-supported Marj market in the village of Marj in the Bekaa Valley, east of Lebanon. The project helps support communities who are hosting Syrian refugees. Photo: Dalia Khamissy/UNDP
On May 23rd, world leaders will come together for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Istanbul. I know that sentence won't necessarily make you want to read on. I get it. But here are six reasons why this summit deserves your attention. 1. Because the scale of the humanitarian crisis is no exaggeration We have the highest level of humanitarian needs since the Second World War. More than 60 million people have had to flee their homes--the majority women and children. And the average length of displacement is now 17 years. Conflicts are more complex than ever before and, according to some estimates, the cost of conflict and violence now accounts for more than 13 % of the total global economy. Climate change adds extra volatility to the situation. … Read more

Are women and girls more vulnerable to tuberculosis and malaria?

23 Mar 2016 by Caitlin Boyce, Policy Specialist, HIV, Gender, Rights and Development, Health, HIV and Development Group, UNDP

woman at clinicA woman visits a tuberculosis clinic in Iraq. Photo: Safin Hamed/UNDP
Are tuberculosis (TB) and malaria still a widespread threat? Popular belief says no. But, in fact, they are still grave health challenges that need more attention, especially in how they are affected by gender. The World Health Organization recently reported that TB now ranks alongside HIV as the leading cause of death from infectious disease. And the disease has a disproportionate effect on women. Today, TB kills more women globally than any other single infectious disease, and more women die annually from TB than from all causes of maternal mortality combined. Some TB symptoms can also affect men and women in profoundly different ways. For example, women have a higher prevalence of genital TB, which is difficult to diagnose and has been identified as an important cause of infertility in settings with high TB incidence. … Read more

Why I can't turn a blind eye

21 Mar 2016 by Michelle Yeoh, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador

Michelle Yeoh talks about her experiences in Nepal during her induction as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. Photo: Lowthian/UNDP
When UNDP asked me to become a Goodwill Ambassador, the timing was just right. Globally, the world had just adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals. But it was also perfect timing on a personal level. I was visiting Nepal last spring when a powerful earthquake created some of the worst devastation the country has seen since the 1930s. While I had seen the devastating after-effects of disasters and humanitarian crises from the safe distance of a television screen, I hadn’t experienced such devastation and terror first hand. … Read more

What pushes young people to extremism?

18 Mar 2016 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

 Violent extremism poses the single biggest threat to Africa's steady journey to prosperity. In Kenya, a peace building and conflict resolution programme targets youth. Photo: UNDP Kenya
Last April, Mohamed, a carpenter in a fishing town along Kenya's coast, saw a photograph of Suleiman, the second of his five sons, on the evening news. The 24-year-old was among six young men declared dangerous members of al-Shabab, with a bounty on their heads. Less than a year later, Suleiman was among four al-Shabab suspects killed in a reported shootout with the police. Suleiman's father says that growing up, his son was respectful, dynamic, and refused to accept that the circumstances of his birth should condemn him to a life of poverty. The entire family saw Suleiman as their way to a better life. To meet their high expectations, Suleiman concluded he had to leave not only his town, but also Kenya. He planned to become a driver in Saudi Arabia. But to get there, he needed money to pay agents to organize his trip. … 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