The role of SDGs in achieving zero hunger | Paloma Durán

18 Jan 2016

image 1 in 9 people are undernourished in our world today. Photo: UNDP Peru

It is a well-known fact that 795 million or one in nine are undernourished in our world today. This figure only goes up to more than one in eight for the developing world. Hunger kills more people every year than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. At the same time, the food industry is a major source of jobs and livelihoods. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that food is going to play a pivotal role in achieving sustainable development and as such in ensuring Zero Hunger. Various commentators recognize the pivotal role that Goal 2 of the SDGs (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture) plays in achieving the other goals. So what can we do facilitate the achievement of Goal 2 in practical terms?. The Sustainable Development Goals Fund, the first mechanism established for SDG achievement, is already devising new platforms for joint engagement of UN Agencies, governments, civil society, businesses and communities in sustainable development with its work on the ground. With food security and nutrition defined as one of its key focus areas the SDG Fund is already funding four joint programmes that directly contribute towards achieving Goal 2. With our support, El Salvador’s government is  Read More

For a young Haitian, hope beyond the earthquake | Alejandro Pacheco

12 Jan 2016

image Oriental was born in a slum area of ​​Port au Prince. Before the earthquake struck, life had already hit him hard: he became an orphan when he was 15. Photo: Raúl de la Fuente - Kanaki Films.

Oriental Meliance was born in Haiti in 1990. When he was 10 years old, world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Oriental was among the 2 billion poor worldwide classified as living on less than US$1.25 a day. By the time he turned 25 in 2015, the world had halved the number of poor. These huge numbers eclipse the real faces of people, like Oriental. What does it mean to live in poverty?  We now have more complex definitions of poverty that go beyond income, which address multiple needs and shortcomings. Beyond living on less than US$1.25, the lack of adequate housing, water and sanitation, access to health services, and education classify a family as “multi-dimensionally poor”. This second definition is more interesting: it allows us to shift our understanding of Oriental (or Tattoo Love, as his friends call him) from being an income-related number to a real person living under certain conditions. We know, for example, that the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 affected him. Since then, he has lived in a shack he built with his own hands, with no access to running water and a ceiling and walls made of corrugated iron. He cannot  Read More

Six ways to define poverty, according to 5-year olds | Carolina Azevedo

05 Jan 2016

image Only one last child mentioned money or income, contrary to the traditional concept that being poor means living on less than US$1.25 or $4 a day. Photo: Renato Contreras / UNDP Peru

Forget about the ‘grandmother rule’ of journalism—or the ‘aunt rule’, depending on the country. According to this principle, you have to explain your message as simply as possible so even your grandmother, or aunt, will understand. I wonder why it’s never the grandfather or the uncle. But that’s a whole other topic... After lecturing to a group of 20 kindergarten students on what UNDP does (sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and other weird terms) I realize that the rule should be: communicate clearly enough so even a 5-year-old will understand your message. The easiest way to explain the concept of ‘resilience’ was to remind them of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. In the story, you’ll remember, the brick house (yes, the one that took more time and effort to build) was the only one that withstood the wolf’s ‘huffing and puffing’ (and very heavy wind and rain too, the children understood). Surprisingly, when I asked the group of New York City girls and boys from different cultural backgrounds what they thought poverty meant, they answered, in this order: 1.      “Not having a proper house.” 2.      “Not having a proper school.” 3.      “Not having enough to eat.” 4.       Read More

I am a migrant

18 Dec 2015

image "Migration means diving into a new reality and picking yourself up every time you fall." - Photo: I am a migrant

This blog post is part of the campaign "I am a migrant", migrants telling their own stories in their own words. The project aims to help change the lens through with people view migrants and migration, and build a more tolerant world. When I lived in Haiti, I used to study business management. In 2010, the earthquake struck and a year later the situation became very difficult for young people. It wasn’t easy for us to continue our studies. This is when we found a religious organization that worked there and had links with Ecuador. They were dedicated to helping young Haitians who wished to continue their studies by offering them a scholarship. We would only have to pay for the flights. My family realized this was a great opportunity and made all the efforts possible to gather enough money for the ticket, which cost almost 2,000 US Dollars. I had never thought I would move to another country. In fact, I was always more interested in contributing to the development of Haiti by helping those who need it the most. However, given the conditions, I accepted to come to Ecuador. My plan was to study here and go back to  Read More

The ripple effect of volunteering for planet and people | Jennifer Stapper

10 Dec 2015

image Volunteers can be the educators who bridge the gap between policies and communities. Photo: UNDP Peru

What role can volunteerism play in the future of planet and people? Now that the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been adopted, we at United Nations Volunteers (UNV) are trying to gauge how our work can contribute to advancing those goals. As the world turns its attention to climate change, how can we be a part of the solution? UN Volunteers will be part of implementing practical and concrete tools to combat climate change. They will be the ones observing the tactics that work well on the ground and deciding whether these can be passed on across cultures. They will identify the players who would be most apt to contribute and the multiple angles that can be addressed. Furthermore, they will steer into action the strategies developed at national, corporate, and research levels. Volunteerism brings concepts of sustainable development closer to people and their communities. In order to have a more sustainable future, people need to be involved in the changes that will make a difference in their lives. Volunteerism can help inspire this involvement.  When people volunteer their time and energy, they often bring an enthusiasm and passion. Their inspiration can have a ripple effect, becoming the impetus for driving change. People see the  Read More

Let’s talk about corruption. But let’s start with transparency and accountability | Adriana Ballestin

09 Dec 2015

image We has been enhancing the capacity of governments, civil society and the private sector in designing and implementing tools to improve transparency and accountability. Photo: IPC Brazil

According to the Barometer of the Americas nearly 70 percent of Latin American interviewees admitted having been asked for a bribe in the past year. But there’s room for hope: 86.3 percent of interviewees stressed that paying a bribe as unjustifiable, according to the same survey. In recent years Latin Americans have increasingly demanded more accountable, open and transparent governments that can readily respond to citizens’ needs. In this context, adopting transparency and accountability practices and mechanisms are essential create trust, dialogue and cooperation between institutions, private sector and civil society. These are necessary steps to boost institutions and public authorities’ legitimacy. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Latin America and the Caribbean has been enhancing the capacity of governments, civil society and the private sector in designing and implementing tools to improve transparency and accountability—essential for the region’s democratic governance. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and in particularly SDG 16, explicitly link good governance with peace, justice and inclusive societies, emphasizing crisis prevention mechanisms and transparency as crucial steps for strong institutions. Empowering and promoting citizen participation is key. In our region we particularly focus on youth, women, indigenous peoples and  Read More

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

30 Nov 2015

image 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

image 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

image 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

image 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

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