• Preventing social conflicts is a commitment to sustainable development | Gastón Aín

        19 May 2016

        Dealing constructively with social conflicts, preventing and resolving them peacefully are essential elements for a new generation of policies, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Photo: UNDP El Salvador

        The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development incorporates under goal 16 the massive challenge of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, facilitating  access to justice and creating responsive institutions at all levels. Goal 16  is definitely inspired by the infrastructures for peace (I4P) concept firstly introduced by former General Secretary Kofi Annan in 2006: “Essentially,  the  aim  should  be  the  creation  of  a  sustainable   national   infrastructure   for   peace   that   allows   societies   and   their   governments  to  resolve  conflicts  internally  and  with  their  own  skills,  institutions  and resources. The elements of such an infrastructure are sketched out below”. Infrastructures for peace have been defined as dynamic interdependent nets consisting of structures, mechanism, resources, values and skills which, through dialogue and consultation, contribute to preventing conflicts and peacebuilding in a society. One example of these infrastructures are the early warning and response systems (EWRS). The EWRS are mechanisms for preventing and addressing conflicts that focus on the systematic collection, processing and analysis of information (quantitative or qualitative) about conflict situations for the purpose of warning decision-makers so that they can take measures or implement actions that will avoid the emergence or escalation of conflict. In Latin America and the Caribbean region, demands behind social conflicts combine  Read More

      • Despite global climate pledge, indigenous activists are under attack | Laurence Klein

        16 May 2016

        Historically indigenous peoples have assumed an important role in the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems. Photo: UNDP Venezuela

        Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was the main promoter of the campaign against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras. In 2015, her work won her the Goldman Environmental Prize, the highest international recognition for environmental advocates. On 3 March 2016, her dedication to her people and the environment likely got her killed. In a recent report entitled “How many more?” Global Witness analyzes 116 murders of environmentalists in 2014 and confirms that three-quarters occurred in Latin America. The report states that Honduras is the most dangerous country per capita for environmental activists, with 101 killed between 2010 and 2014. Equally disturbing is that the percentage of indigenous victims like Berta rose to 40 percent in 2015. Among the deadliest occupations are fighting the hydroelectric industry, mining companies and agribusinesses. These numbers illustrate a serious paradox. 177 countries have signed the Paris Climate Agreement in which they commit to reducing carbon emissions and curbing climate change. Yet those who are leading the fight to protect the environment are being killed almost on a daily basis. This contradiction exists because the number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that depend on natural resources for their economic and social development is growing. And this  Read More

      • UNGASS on Drugs: expectations, coherence and sustainable development | Javier Sagredo

        04 May 2016

        The interpretation of the international drug conventions through national policies and legal frameworks, many of them hooked on social representations of fear, disease, deviation and crime, has done, in many cases, more harm than good. Photo: Javier Sagredo / UNDP

        Conventional wisdom states that the one of the secrets of happiness in life is to manage our expectations to avoid unnecessary disappointments, while striving to change those aspects of reality that we dislike. The 2016 special session of the United Nations General Assembly on drugs (UNGASS) was convened in New York during the past month of April, and like the previous ones, has delivered an outcome document that perfectly corresponds with the limited possibilities of reaching a meaningful universal consensus on an issue as complex as life itself. A “decaffeinated” end-product based on the lowest common denominator cannot leave everyone satisfied, especially those who had high hopes for either a major or even a modest reform of the international drug control framework. Many of the actors who have actively participated in the discussion process towards UNGASS agree that the most important results lie in the process of the debate itself and in the active participation of new stakeholders, mainly those communities, groups and populations most affected by the implementation of drug policies emanating from the international regime. Moreover, this debate has allowed for the growing emergence of evidence and increased awareness and preoccupation about the negative consequences (“unintended” is not a  Read More

      • The road to transparency | Abdul Riza

        13 Apr 2016

        The innovative portal, details more than 5,000 development projects. Photo: UNDP Colombia

        As UNDP marks its 50th anniversary year, we’re also now celebrating another milestone. We’ve been ranked as the most transparent aid organization by Publish What You Fund for the second consecutive year - a milestone in UNDP’s road to attain transparency by making its information publicly available. Looking back at this road, it all started with our commitment towards adopting the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard to report on development projects. The key to success is to “start with what you have” and take small steps towards making gradual improvements to achieve full compliance. When UNDP started publishing to IATI in 2011, our biggest challenge in adopting the IATI Standard was the cultural shift needed. UNDP operates in nearly 170 countries and territories. As country offices provide the main data sources, incorporating IATI into their daily routine was inevitable. But changing the mindsets of staff on how we operate and report was not easy. We had to prepare extensive guidelines and build systems to support data collection and processing. We created an internal transparency dashboard for country offices to monitor project information to identify the gaps and provide missing information and project documents.  As of 2016, we have greatly progressed toward setting up a fully automated  Read More

      • The SDGs are here… Now what? | Helen Clark

        05 Apr 2016

        We need to work together more closely than ever to help strengthen capacities, whatever the country context. Photo: UNDP Ecuador

        We face the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in a world faced with multiple and diverse forms of crisis. What do the SDGs mean for countries where families have to flee their homes to escape conflict, where rising sea levels threaten lives, livelihoods and infrastructure, and where economies are devastated by the impact of epidemics or terrorism?. Clearly, the effects of such trends are not confined to the countries in which they originate. Instead, they spill over to neighbouring countries and far beyond, with regional and global consequences that are now posing challenges to many countries, north and south. The interlinked and comprehensive nature of the SDGs challenges us to identify entry points in many different contexts, and to address the critical bottlenecks that must be removed if no one is to be left behind.   Four areas are fundamental to achieving the SDGs. 1)      Strong national ownership and leadership: Theexperience of implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) showed that the most important determinants of progress include strong leadership committed to global goals and proactive and capable governance institutions at the national and local levels to ensure that the global agenda is translated into national strategies, budgets and actions. We need to work together more closely than ever to help strengthen capacities, whatever the country context.   2)      Active coalitions, engaged stakeholders and knowledge exchange: The 2030  Read More

      • Empowering youth to drive change in the Eastern Caribbean | Chisa Mikami

        17 Mar 2016

        SocialINNOV4Change was conceived in our office in 2014 to support youth-led citizen-centred solutions to address crime and violence within their communities. Photo: UNDP Barbados

        Crime has become one of the main challenges threatening economies and livelihoods in Caribbean countries, according to UNDP’s Caribbean Human Development Report, with murder rates exceedingly high by world standards. Therefore, boosting citizen security is at the heart of our work in the region. And I knew that was going to be a big part of our work at UNDP Barbados and Eastern Caribbean when I joined the team three months ago. When I learnt of the SocialINNOV4Change project, I was thrilled with this initiative that engages Caribbean youth on issues that matter to and affect their lives. We need to invest in people, particularly in youth, to boost development while preventing violence and crime. SocialINNOV4Change was conceived in our office in 2014 to support youth-led citizen-centred solutions to address crime and violence within their communities. This initiative was first piloted in the islands of St. Christopher and Nevis, and it was conceived as a methodology which includes the use of theatre education (partnering with the University of West Indies NGO, Arts-in-Action) to bring issues to the fore, ideation workshops to help participants develop concepts, and a final innovation lab to enhance their approach. Based on the success and lessons learned  Read More

      • Post COP21: Costa Rica’s Innovation Must Become the Global Norm | Edgar Gutiérrez and Luis Felipe Arauz & Alice Harding Shackelford

        14 Mar 2016

        From 2000, Costa Rica’s pineapple industry began growing rapidly and by 2012 the country was among the world’s biggest exporters of pineapples. Photo: UNDP GCP

        The Paris agreement means countries and corporations will be compelled to act much more quickly on making agricultural commodity production more sustainable. Companies must look beyond their supply chains. Farmers need support to overcome barriers such as: struggle with ineffective farming practices, lack of investment and fluctuating commodity prices. Our remaining forests – the lungs of our planet and so vital to stemming climate change –need to be protected. It’s time to work together to make agricultural commodity production sustainable. Last week Costa Rica made history by showing the world how this can be done. In 2010, Costa Rica started responding to the environmental and social impact of the pineapple sector’s rapid expansion. The country set-up the National Platform for the Responsible Production and Trade of Pineapple in Costa Rica, designed to bring every group with a stake together. Supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Green Commodities initiative, this government-led platform engaged 900 people representing big companies, such as TESCO and Walmart, small-scale farmers, traders, government and civil society. The group came up with the Action Plan for Strengthening the Responsible Production and Trade of Pineapple in Costa Rica. This groundbreaking Plan has 12 sets of actions that represent a  Read More

      • Why the last 50 years are key for the next 15? | Jessica Faieta

        14 Mar 2016

        What does achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development mean for the Latin America and the Caribbean region? Photo: UNDP Peru / Renato Contreras

        Of the five decades that the United Nations Development Program celebrates this year, I have lived half in the organization, in different roles. Our story began focusing on world poverty, on the most at-need women and men in the post-colonial era, with the emergence of new, independent countries beginning to trace their own paths to prosperity. In Latin America and the Caribbean we have supported many countries in their transition to democracy, also in various national truth and justice commissions and strengthening institutional capacities. Our partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector has also been crucial to innovative public policies and job creation initiatives that have helped improve the lives of millions of people. This is also a momentous year for our region. Over 50 years ago Colombia’s internal armed conflict began; it is now on the verge of coming to a close. The recent steps towards the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States after more than half a century are also of historic importance, not only to these countries but to the entire region. Looking back 50 years, the concept of development has shifted. There was a change in the “what” and today it is  Read More

      • 50 Years of Empowering Lives and Building Resilient Nations | Helen Clark

        23 Feb 2016

        UNDP is proud to have worked with many partners committed to poverty eradication. Photo: UNDP Colombia

        Fifty years ago, one in every three people around the world was living in poverty.  It was against that backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was founded in 1966.  Ever since, UNDP has been a leader in working for a more fair and prosperous world for all. We have worked with governments, civil society, the private sector, and philanthropy to empower people and build resilient nations. As UNDP begins its second half century, the numbers of people in poverty have decreased to around one in eight.  UNDP is proud to have worked with many partners committed to poverty eradication. Indeed, for fifty years UNDP has been at the forefront of work to eradicate poverty, hunger and disease, create jobs and livelihoods, empower women, support recovery from disasters and other crises, protect the environment, and more.   Most of the work happens because of our dedicated staff and the thousands of organizations we partner with around the world who do the daily work of development.  I am proud to lead an organization that has transformed so many lives for the better, offering them opportunity, hope, and dignity. But there remains much work to do.  The world is not yet rid of poverty and hunger and  Read More

      • Zika is a wake-up call for all of us | Mandeep Dhaliwal

        05 Feb 2016

        A girl receives anti-malaria treatment in Bolivia. Through our partnership with the Global Fund and malaria programmes in nine countries, UNDP can share expertise on multi-dimensional mosquito control responses. Photo: UNDP Bolivia

        Monday, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern. Unlike other viruses spread through the bite of the Aedes mosquito —such as dengue, yellow fever, or chikungunya — the Zika virus often went unnoticed and was considered a mild tropical disease with most virus carriers being symptomless.  Yet Brazil recently found itself in the throes of an unprecedented Zika outbreak — with more than a million people infected — and an unusually high number of babies born with microcephaly. There is growing international consensus, although not yet definitive proof, that the virus has potentially catastrophic implications for infected pregnant women and their unborn children, as well as possible links to other serious neurological conditions. Experts believe that environmental destruction caused the Zika virus to infect humans and is fuelling its dramatic spread through the Americas. There is no vaccine or cure for Zika, and a health sector response will simply not be sufficient to stop its spread. This means that fear of infection is mounting among people living in the most vulnerable communities across Latin America, where cased have been reported in 25 countries and territories. Some countries have responded to the threat  Read More

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