UNDP Virtual Trip to Madagascar with Norwegian Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein

Posted May 31, 2021

On 26 May, on a chilly afternoon in Oslo, the Norwegian Minister of International Development Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein and his delegation took a zero emissions virtual trip across the globe to visit UNDP’s dedicated team on the ground in Madagascar.  UNDP Resident Representative Natasha Van Rijn greeted him in Antananarivo, and the journey took him to two project sites in Androy, the drought ridden region on the southern tip of Madagascar. There the minister met with representatives of the local communities and local government to learn more about the challenges and opportunities they are facing. 

The population is currently confronted with a double crisis of drought-induced hunger and the effects of Covid-19, and 1.3 million people require immediate and continued humanitarian support. “What is killing this region slowly but surely is the degradation of the environment,” the Governor of Androy Mr. Soja Lahimaro affirmed, highlighting the severe challenges of climate change and his worries about school attendance of children in the region. 

Restoration of sand dunes addressing both poverty and climate change

The Minister went on a virtual tour of the sand dunes in Ambazoa, and UNDP’s restoration project of the dunes through cash for work. This project creates income-generating activities for the local community, and increases their resilience to drought which had caused the dunes to cover arable lands.  

The Minister spoke to two members of the community who worked on the sand dunes project, where they reflected on their experiences with the project and how it impacted their lives. “I was able to save some money and could buy fishing equipment to continue the family business” said Ms. Zoelina, who lives in the fokontany (village) of Ikotoala in Ambazoa. She is a mother of three children and conducts fishing activities with her husband to support her household.  

Rural track rehabilitation stimulates economic activity and provides income opportunities in Soamanitra Beloha

The Minister journeyed on to visit UNDP’s restoration of a rural track in Soamanitra Beloha. More than 1759 persons from vulnerable households were mobilized to restore the 35 km stretch of road. As a result, they have been able to develop income-generating activities that have increased their resilience to drought and open up the communeAfter the tour, the Minister spoke to two local representatives on how the rehabilitated road has helped address environmental degradation and poverty in the area. “We can now travel to the market to sell our products. I have 15 children and 6 grandchildren, and the savings from my earnings on the project enabled me to help feed them, and we were able to stay here despite the drought,” said Mr. Farasoa Masimana, the chief of Marokipa Tranovaho village.   

“It’s really nice to see the holistic way that the UNDP works together with the community and the important impact that you have just shared for your family,” the Norwegian Minister noted, as he exchanged with Mr. Farasoa Masimana and Mr. Voasoro Gustave, Deputy Mayor of Tranovaho.   

UNDP bringing partners together around development solutions 

Resident Representative Natasha Van Rijn underscored that the complex challenges the region is facing calls for multi-faceted and systems-based solutions and that “the UNDP is taking the opportunity to use its integrator role, not only within the UNDP system but also with the other partners in Madagascar,” emphasizing Norway’s core contributions and consistent support is what makes this work possible.

Learn more about UNDP’s work in Madagascar here: