• Afro-Brazilian women take to the streets. How about also taking up seats in parliament? | Carolina Azevedo

        30 Nov 2015

        More than 20,000 women took to the streets during the March of Black Women on 18 November in Brasilia, calling for the protection of human rights. Photo: Vinícius Carvalho/Marcha das Mulheres Negras

        “The power structure [in our region] is macho, white and old,” said Creuza Oliveira, President of the National Federation of Domestic Workers of Brazil. Creuza’s speech during the ECLAC-UNDP Regional Conference on Social Development brought many ministers and country delegates – men and women – to tears. Her words give witness to the experience of African descendants, who make up around 30 per cent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout the region Afro-descendants face discrimination and experience disproportionate levels of poverty and social exclusion. Often they face multiple and intersecting forms of inequity based on other factors such as gender, religion or disability. Creuza became a domestic worker when she was only 10 in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia. Working long hours during the day and studying at night “whenever the boss allowed”, she managed to finish elementary school by age 16 and high school by 32, she told me in an interview in Lima, Peru. Black women compose 62 percent of the domestic work force in Brazil, according to official figures. More than 70 percent do not have a formal contract. Moreover, 60 percent of women who die giving birth are black. And in the last 10 years the  Read More

      • Climate change is not gender-neutral

        17 Nov 2015

        Indigenous women are one of the most affected by climate change. Photo: UNDP in Colombia

        It is well established that the poor are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and that women—who account for the majority of the world’s poor—are disproportionately impacted. Why is this fact so important? And what are we doing to address it? Women farmers account for 45 to 80 percent of all food production in developing countries. This means that any changes in climate—such as droughts and floods—affect their livelihoods, incomes and food security more than they do men. Women also suffer from discrimination, limiting their rights, their access to land and their access to services. Such discrimination has important implications during the aftermath of weather-related emergencies, as women are usually the last to receive services like credit and technical support. As the gender focal point in the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) implemented by UNDP, I have been in charge of mainstreaming gender across our programmes. This is quite a task, given that we operate in over 125 countries, each with a different landscape and climate vulnerabilities, as well as different laws for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women have different roles and face different challenges in each of our areas of work (biodiversity, climate change and land degradation,  Read More

      • How can our work in Latin America and the Caribbean help shape new partnerships for sustainable development? | Susan McDade

        30 Oct 2015

        Latin America and the Caribbean, was the only region in the world that managed to reduce income inequality during the first decade of the 21st century. Photo: UNDP Guatemala / Caroline Truttman

        During the past half century, UNDP has been working with Governments, civil society and the private sector, supporting change in Latin America and the Caribbean countries and societies. In the region and beyond, UNDP played a central role in devising, promoting and helping countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We are now working with partners in the region to implement and achieve the 2030 Agenda—including the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—in a very different context compared to the turn of the millennium. The region is less poor and unequal—and more prosperous. It was the only region in the world that managed to reduce income inequality during the first decade of the 21st century, also adding 90 million people to an emerging middle class between 2000 and 2012. This took place following that decade’s economic boom and innovative social transfer programmes, which helped to keep children in schools while improving the lives of women and their families. UNDP is proud to have worked with governments across the region in support of more inclusive and equitable social policies and programmes. Despite all the progress and even though some countries rank among the world’s top economies, the region is home to  Read More

      • Good practices for development: El Salvador’s contributions | Stefano Pettinato

        27 Oct 2015

        Kids in Cojutepeque, El Salvador. In El Salvador, four MDG goals have been fulfilled (targets related to extreme poverty, education, gender equality, malaria and other major diseases, and access to water and sanitation). Photo: César Avilés / UNDP El Salvador

        When El Salvador is at the center of international debates, it’s often focusing on the problems the country faces. People look at the glass half empty. But those of us who have the privilege of working and living in this country are aware of many valuable experiences that give El Salvador an edge in the process of adopting the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the Third Report on the Progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), El Salvador has made important progress in achieving several MDGs.  Of twelve goals that El Salvador have been monitoring since its first National MDG Report, four have been fulfilled (targets related to extreme poverty, education, gender equality, malaria and other major diseases, and access to water and sanitation) and four are almost achieved (child mortality, universal access to reproductive health, maternal mortality and universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS). If efforts are sustained, it might be possible to also achieve three targets that are lagged-behind (hunger, primary schooling, halt and reverse spread of HIV/AIDS). In order to speed up the process towards achieving of the MDGs, a number of fundamental actions were carried out. These included using costing tools, recognizing bottlenecks, considering appropriate policies  Read More

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

        29 Sep 2015

        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

        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

        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

        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