Livelihoods and economic recovery

UNDP works globally with communities and societies affected by natural disasters, crisis and conflicts, during both sudden and protracted situations for early and long-term economic and livelihoods recovery. Our livelihoods and economic recovery efforts are the first critical steps towards systematically addressing underlying vulnerabilities and inequalities to progress towards sustainable and equitable development.

The three critical steps that define our programme and policy support:

  • Support livelihoods stabilization of disaster and conflict affected individuals, communities and societies, ensuring that relief, recovery and development are addressed simultaneously.

  • Support local economic recovery for medium and long-term jobs and employment, for income generation opportunities and finding development solutions for displacement.

  • Support economically and environmentally sustainable livelihoods, and inclusive economic growth by strengthening resilience of countries and their ability to cope with unavoidable shocks.

Our focus on jobs and livelihoods is critical in contributing to multi-dimensional poverty reduction, ending hunger and reducing inequality early on in crisis and post crisis settings. A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. There are six livelihoods capitals or the building blocks of livelihoods that are needed for the well-being of people: financial/income, social, human, natural, political, and physical in both crisis and non – crisis situations.

With an estimated 600 million productive jobs urgently needed over the next decade to sustain growth and maintain social cohesion, jobs and livelihoods have emerged as a key concern.

An inclusive and sustainable growth incorporates productive capacities to create employment and livelihoods for the poor and excluded. UNDP’s livelihoods approach is adapted from the ‘UN policy on employment creation, income creation and reintegration in post-conflict situations’, which provides a framework for interventions in the short, medium and long term.

  • Short-term interventions support livelihoods stabilization, ensuring that relief, recovery and development are a contiguum. With this approach, UNDP promotes a wide array of livelihood opportunities in cash-for-work schemes in reforestation, community infrastructure rehabilitation, agro food processing, rainwater harvesting, high-value crops cultivation, improved agricultural practices and irrigation systems, and skills-building, including digital skills.

  • Medium-term interventions support local economic recovery for medium- and long-term jobs, productive employment, income generation and development solutions for displacement; digital transformation and the future of work become key factors to consider in the design and planning of interventions.

  • Longer-term interventions support economically and environmentally sustainable livelihoods, medium and long-term employment and inclusive economic growth by establishing the building blocks for countries’ resilience and ability to cope with unavoidable shocks.

  • To establish strong links between education and employment outcomes, particularly for youth, UNDP provides technical support and capacity-building in the design, expansion and implementation of appropriate skills development and education-to-work transitions. UNDP also promotes entrepreneurship development initiatives such as the provision of training, starting and scaling-up of small businesses, and support in providing business skills development. Use of technology is a key consideration throughout the conceptualization, design, implementation and monitoring process.

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