International Day of the Girl Child: How young women and girls are fighting inequality

10 Oct 2016 by Randi Davis, Gender Team Director, UNDP

Young women and girls throughout the world are demonstrating that they are willing and able to fight inequality and advocate for change. Photo: UNDP India
Two young women in Kosovo, frustrated by the low percentage of women in the technology sector, launched Girls Coding Kosovo, a non-governmental organization that empowers and trains women and girls in programming, engineering and computer science. A year later, the group has more than 500 participants and several products, including Walk Freely, an app aimed at fighting sexual harassment Along Egypt’s Nile River, a group of school girls travel from village to village to perform a song they wrote that is helping to change local attitudes and end female genital mutilation. They sing: ‘I am born perfect with my body whole. Why do you want to cut us, and take away the rights that God gave us?' Students at Albania’s Tirana University hired actors to enact a domestic violence incident and then projected a video of the scene around the city to test the reactions of the public. The video went viral in social and traditional media, taking the messages of the students’ public awareness campaign against gender-based violence to a wide audience. … Read more

Restoring lives and hopes for a better future in Haiti

10 Oct 2016 by Yvonne Helle, United Nations Development Programme Country Director, Haiti

Before the disaster, one million Haitians were acutely food insecure and almost half of the population was without jobs. Photo: UNDP Haiti/Guillaume Joachin
The destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti has been devastating. While the full scale of the damage and needs is still being assessed, the death toll has risen to over 300 lives lost. More than 60,000 have been displaced and are living in basic shelters, and over 25,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged. Behind these numbers are women and children who don’t have food anymore, as the little they had was lost, and who don’t have safe drinking water anymore because of overflowing water tanks, contamination from decaying animal carcasses and bodies washing out of cemeteries. Behind these numbers are young people whose future has been washed away, farmers who have lost all of their livestock, their crops and the life they had built for themselves over decades. Behind these numbers are people whose homes have been destroyed and who are now living in makeshift shelters, not able to provide for their families and depending on assistance. They urgently need our help in restoring their lives and hopes for a better future. UNDP has been working on the ground for over 40 years and will build on its experience and its network, working side by side with the Haitian people during the recovery phase. Our focus will be on strengthening national capacities to lead recovery efforts, supporting a participatory, Government-led post-disaster needs assessment, and providing immediate relief and recovery support to populations in need … Read more

“Are you okay? What are you doing for Haiti?”

10 Oct 2016 by Rita Sciarra, Head of Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP Haiti

 UNDP projects in the South region helped local authorities to decide where to relocate evacuees before the hurricane. Photo: UNDP Haiti
The sun is shining today in Port-au-Prince and throughout Haiti. Looking at such a blue sky, I wonder at the force of nature that, in less than 36 hours, it can come and destroy everything. It was impossible to imagine in the quiet of the night before Matthew’s arrival or in the colour of the sky today that it could have had such devastating consequences. My thoughts are racing between the latest data from my colleagues in the Emergency Civil Protection Centre and the need to urgently intervene and help the people of the Nippes, South and Grande Anse regions. I am thinking about my recent training on emergency situations, my past experiences, in theory and practice. Together with the directors of the office and other colleagues, we try to come up with, in a few words, our strategy for working on Haiti’s recovery in order build a bridge to development right from the first emergency interventions. In Jeremie, 90 percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed. The roofs have blown away together with most of the trees, and now everything is scattered on the ground throughout the streets of the city. We see bodies of dead animals, remains of latrines and graveyards that have been destroyed. … Read more

Capacity development – the only sustainable way to implement the Paris Agreement

06 Oct 2016 by Frederik Tue Staun, Programme Analyst, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Team, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Capacity development is no longer limited to human resource development but covers issues of national ownership, policy-level impacts, and sustainability. Photo: UNDP
On September 22, 2016, Uganda became one of the first African countries to ratify the Paris Agreement - a milestone that made me reflect on the two years I spent in the country as the UNDP Climate Change focal point, but most of all, it made me proud on behalf of my former colleagues and tireless climate champions working in Uganda. When I look back at my time with UNDP Uganda, our work on climate change mitigation and low carbon capacity development stands out. The Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Project was one of the first projects to focus on low carbon development in the country and more specifically aiming at strengthening technical and institutional capacities at the country level and enable national decision makers, public institutions and private sector to holistically address climate change and decouple economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. When the Government of Uganda launched the LECB project in 2013 in Kampala, climate change mitigation and low carbon development were very new concepts and created confusion and many questions as climate change mitigation broadly was perceived as the responsibility of developed countries. … Read more

How the Montreal Protocol can complement the Paris Agreement and help fight climate change

04 Oct 2016 by By Jacques Van Engel, Director of the Montreal Protocol / Chemicals Unit, UNDP

Through initiatives like this CFC refrigerator exchange programme in Rio de Janeiro, UNDP has helped 120 countries eliminate 67,870 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances each year. Photo: Vanderlei Almeida/UNDP Brazil
Agreed in 1987, the Montreal Protocol has led to a massive reduction in the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, such as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). It has also, famously, helped begin the process of closing the ozone hole over Antarctica. Now, efforts are underway to expand the Montreal Protocol and further protect the environment and help avert climate change. … Read more