Ending LGBTI discrimination is key to achieving SDGs | Magdy Martínez-Solimán

29 Sep 2015

image Transgender activists in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil, during a mobilization campaign for civil registry change and LGBT rights. Photo: Daniel de Castro/UNDP Brazil

The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals embody a powerful commitment to achieving a life of dignity for all. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. That's why we at UNDP are pleased to join in the UN statement on ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The statement has been endorsed by 12 UN entities - UNDP, OHCHR, UNAIDS, ILO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, UN Women, UNODC, WFP and WHO. The new sustainable development agenda includes everyone, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. As noted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "the challenges faced by any become the challenges faced by each of us - sometimes gradually, but often suddenly." In short, the inclusion of LGBTI people is important so that they can contribute to and benefit from sustainable development. Without inclusive processes we will not be able to help countries to achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequality and exclusion. Both UNDP's Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and the UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 require us to place particular emphasis on those experiencing the greatest inequality and exclusion – LGBTI people are one such group. UNDP is already making contributions to LGBTI inclusion through  Read More

Looking to 2030 from the path of the Millennium Development Goals | Gonzalo Pizarro and Diana Costa

24 Sep 2015

image If current trends continue, the region as a whole is on track to achieve many MDG goals. Photo: Caroline Trutmann/UNDP Guatemala

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its future development agenda through the year 2030. “Ours can be the first generation to end poverty,” the UN Secretary-General has declared. In Latin America and the Caribbean, will we in fact be the first generation that eliminates extreme poverty while simultaneously reducing the inequalities that have historically thwarted development here in this region? Countries in this region have faced progress and challenges in bringing themselves into compliance with the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The dynamics of this process provide substantive lessons useful for the forthcoming sustainable development agenda, which is more ambitious and complex. At the aggregate level, the Latin American and Caribbean region has made headway in reducing extreme poverty and infant mortality, ensuring primary school education, promoting gender equality, bringing about the empowerment of women, and improving access by the general public to basic services in the areas of sanitation and drinking water. The region as a whole is on the road to achieving these goals and many individual countries will fulfill the objectives if they persevere with current trends. However, despite the considerable progress observed, we still face many regional challenges and disparities in meeting the goals relating  Read More

How do we communicate development goals? | Sangita Khadka

09 Sep 2015

image Global campaigns and the Post-2015 national level consultations made it possible to bring in the voices of people from all walks of society. Photo: Caroline Trutmann / UNDP

As a communicator, it has been both extremely exciting and a challenging journey to be a part of the Millennium Development Goals era at UNDP. Things were not that simple back in 2001 when we had to explain to our country partners what MDGs were all about and what our role was in it. At the time, I had just started working as the Communications Officer for UNDP in Nepal, where we desperately tried to introduce the MDGs to the NGOs, media, and the general public. To most, the MDGs sounded vague and alien, as if they had come from a different planet. The development goals were hard to explain just by calling them ‘MDGs'. To our dismay, many people called them the 'UN Goals’. As communicators, we had to go through each goal and relate them to our own national issues and development priorities. We pushed the local media to talk about the goals, to explain that they were not UN-imposed, but rather about basic targets that our own country had set to reduce poverty and hunger, to improve education and our environment. We made an effort never to use the abbreviation ‘MDGs’, as it was beyond the ordinary person’s comprehension. The  Read More

10 ways youth can make an impact | Giovanna Lucignano

12 Aug 2015

image Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. Photo: UNDP El Salvador

“We are addressing youth today, because youth have placed themselves on the top of the agenda.”–Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard. Here’s a list of ideas of how you can participate locally and globally: 1. Know your rights: You might not be able to vote yet, but all children and youth hold national and internationalrights. These rights are only of use to you if you are informed about them, so read up! 2. Learn about local issues: Is a roadblock affecting your commute to school? Are the new taxes affecting your family’s livelihood? Whatever the case, learning the issue will help in creating solutions that will have an impact on you. 3. Speak out: Speaking your mind online (through social media), and/or offline (at local meetings and gatherings) helps you assert yourself and your interests. Also, you never know who might be listening. Think before posting. Social media has a long memory and things can never truly be deleted. 4. Network: There are many inspiring  Read More

Indigenous knowledge has life | Alejandra Pero

07 Aug 2015


How traditional knowledge is collected and shared is increasingly becoming an issue of both concern and opportunity for indigenous peoples and local communities around the world. Digital technology’s potential to record information can lead to great benefits, but also raise questions around consent and digital sovereignty. Who owns the data recorded, where is the data being stored, who has the right to the data, and can it be destroyed? There is potential for good use of the new available technology. The Wapichana of the southern Rupununi savannas of Guyana face threats such as illegal logging, mining, and cattle rustling, and hope to use drones to map and monitor land aerially to cut the risks faced by those exploring remote areas of land. The Dayaks in Setulang, Indonesia are doing the same in the hope of protecting their lands from illegal uses such as logging and clear cutting. In Kenya, some Maasai groups also seek to use drones to check illegal poaching activities in their area. There is some concern that indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ sacred sites and deep millennial cultural knowledge could also be disclosed and documented without their involvement and consent. A mining company in Australia for example is spending 3  Read More

Celebrating the world's indigenous peoples, declaring their rights | Patrick Keuleers

07 Aug 2015


The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples celebrates the wealth and variety of indigenous cultures and the rights, achievements, and contributions of indigenous peoples worldwide. These rights are enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), but are not always upheld. There are more than 370 million Indigenous peoples living in some 90 countries. It is estimated that they constitute 15 percent of the world’s poor, and one third of the 900 million people living in extreme poverty in rural areas. In vast numbers, indigenous peoples live in some of the world's most resource rich areas, but their own forms of conservation and resource management have been historically undervalued. Too often development projects and programmes undertaken near to and within their lands result in degradations to the environments upon which their physical and cultural survival depends, violate their human rights, and exclude them from equitable benefits. Around the world, discrimination and structural inequalities disproportionately affect indigenous peoples. Human development and peace is not possible where discrimination, injustice, and social exclusion prevail, and where there is a lack of recognition that all groups bring value to society through their different worldviews. In the Governance and Peacebuilding cluster  Read More

Caring about those who care for others | René Mauricio Valdés

28 Jul 2015

image In Argentina, women currently devote almost twice as much time as men to care-related tasks: 6.4 hours a day compared to 3.4 hours. Photo: UNDP Argentina

All societies have people to care for and care-givers. Although there are different forms of care-giving, it is often undertaken by family members, mostly women and girls whose labor is usually unpaid. Here in Argentina, a country which has made remarkable progress in women’s rights and gender equality, women currently devote almost twice as much time as men to care-related tasks: 6.4 hours a day compared to 3.4 hours. The ability to meet care needs is also critical to national well-being, and the economic dimension of care-work is becoming more visible in Latin America. Studies undertaken in Colombia and Mexico indicate that the economic value of care activities accounts for approximately 20% of GNP. The region is now facing a mounting care crisis. The number of people requiring care is increasing, due to greater life expectancy, while the number of people available as unpaid care-givers is diminishing, caused by a lower fertility rate and the mass entry of women and girls into the labour market and educational systems. In addition, the ‘demographic bonus’ – when the working population is larger than that of elderly people and children - is coming to an end in many countries, while the dependency rate will  Read More

Young Democracy Grows at the UN | Annika Savill

27 Jul 2015

image This youth generation is the largest the world has ever known. More than half the global population is under 25 years old. Photo: UNDP Barbados

When the founders of the United Nations drafted the Charter 70 years ago, they did not include the word democracy. This was hardly surprising. In 1945, still more than today, many of the UN's Member States did not espouse democracy as a system. Others laid claim to it but did not practice it. And yet, in the seven decades since the Charter was signed, the UN as an institution has done more to support and strengthen democracy around the world than any other global organization -- from fostering good governance to monitoring elections, from supporting civil society to strengthening democratic institutions and accountability, from ensuring self-determination in decolonized countries to assisting the drafting of new constitutions in nations post-conflict. Today, the UN is banking on a different constituency to advance its mission on nearly every front: young people. It is the year in which the UN must determine the post-2015 development agenda and define the future global development framework that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. Those who are young today are the ones who will have to live with the outcome, and carry forward our efforts. In our time, young people hold the key to almost all the challenges facing  Read More

The case for a better approach to drug control policy | Tenu Avafia and Javier Sagredo

23 Jul 2015

image Men working in the coca field in Bolivia. Photo: Ryan Anderton

The relationship between drug control policy and human development is complex and multifaceted. Both share a common objective to reduce drug-related harms. Yet drug control, human rights, public health and human development agendas often exist in isolation from each other. Policies aimed at prohibition and punishment form the international approach to drug control. Yet, there is ample evidence of the negative consequences of these policies. For the many farmers affected by poverty, conflict, and insecurity, cultivating illicit drug crops is a viable livelihoods option, yet international drug treaties ban the cultivation of these crops and require their eradication. The enforcement of these bans and eradication efforts have in many cases negatively affected the public health and human rights of people living in poverty. They have destroyed the livelihoods of those who depend on cultivating and selling drugs to survive and forcibly displaced populations from areas where illicit crops are grown. The herbicide used in aerial fumigation of illicit coca crops has been associated with physical and mental health problems. In many instances, these bans do not necessarily lead to reduced cultivation or consumption of illicit drugs, as the cultivators and traffickers simply move on to other areas. Poverty can push people  Read More

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