The Sydney World Parks Congress Shapes the Future We Need

12 Nov 2014 by Nik Sekhran

 Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (SNNR), in Qinghai Province, China, holds the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong Rivers and tributaries that supply water to billions of people downstream. Marc Foggin
Solutions to problems is exactly what UNDP is bringing to the World Parks Congress. … Read more

In an Indian ashram, its solar power that nourishes the spiritual

10 Nov 2014 by Butchiah Gadde

Ashram food hallThe ashram's kitchen serves free meals to more than 35,000 devotees daily. UNDP Photo
It was a hot summer day in Shirdi in the Indian state of Maharashtra. A wind blew in from the arid plains, covering its tracks with a patina of dust. Thousands of devotees at the Sai Baba temple had lined up for a ritual meal offered at the Prasadalaya (a free eatery run by the trust), which feeds more than 35,000 visitors daily. This ashram – a cornerstone of tradition and spiritual faith for many – has undergone a sea change in it’s reliance on fossil fuels. As we walked through the clatter of aluminium plates in the food hall, Amrut G. Jagtap, an engineer at the Prasadalaya explained that meals for about 17,000 devotees are now cooked using thermal energy from solar technology installed on the roof of the building.

 In a country of 1.2 billion people, where fossil fuels are in high demand for their use as cooking fuel, the climate could well allow a significant reduction in energy use (and family expenses) if reliance on alternative energy could find a foothold. If  solar technology can be harnessed at an industrial scale, however, it can partially meet energy needs and reduce the demand for costly fossil fuels, such as … Read more

Truth-by-phone: How PNG is pitting the humble mobile phone against massive corruption

23 Oct 2014 by Tito Balboa

Papua New Guinea stands at one of the most decisive junctures in its development. With predicted record levels of economic growth of 20% for 2015, the country has a unique opportunity to leverage significant sustainable and equitable improvements of Human Development of the more than 7 million Papua New Guineans. However, if poor choices are made, the impact of the high growth rates will be limited, even detrimental to the development prospects of the nation. This ‘paradox of plenty’ occurred when a 20% growth rate in the early 1990s was followed by a ‘lost decade’ for the majority of the population. Despite the Government of PNG’s increased budget allocations to provincial, district and local level governments by 87% over the last two years, low implementation capacity at sub-national level has prevented the high volume of resources to translate effectively into improvements in the lives of the population. One reason for this inefficiency is corruption.  
 In 2013, government task force estimated that almost 40% of PNG’s annual budget (approx. USD 6.5 billion) was lost to corruption and mismanagement, a worrying number that seems to be confirmed by Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perception Index, and the World Bank’s Global Governance Corruption Index. … Read more

How a low-tech mobile app is changing the way Indonesia responds to disasters

18 Oct 2014 by Lulu Muhammad and Gina Meutia

Aceh after the quakeSitting between two of the world’s most active seismic plates, Indonesia is struck with over five light earthquakes on a daily basis. Photo: Wahyu Wening
Reliable real-time data on post disaster information will help ensure a well-targeted and speedy response to future disasters in Indonesia, which in turn, will save lives and money. … Read more

Eradicating poverty: thinking beyond income

17 Oct 2014 by Alfredo González Reyes, UNDP specialist on poverty and human development, Latin America and the Caribbean

A rural woman in Peru.Many countries have already started taking an important step towards a new way of thinking about poverty. Photo: UNDP Peru.
Today, the 17th of October 2014, marks 21 years since for the first time the International Day for the Eradication of Extreme Poverty was celebrated. Notable progress has been made since then. According to World Bank data, among the 115 low-income countries of the world, the proportion of people in extreme poverty (i.e. an income per person per day of US$1.25, adjusted for purchasing power parity) declined from 43.4 percent in 1990 to 17 percent in 2011; i.e. 912 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty over the past two decades. This drop was mainly concentrated in East Asia and the Pacific, where the incidence of extreme poverty was reduced from 57 to 7.9 percent during the same period (i.e. 750 million people). In Southeast Asia, it dropped from 54.1 to 24.5 percent (221.5 million people). In Latin America and the Caribbean, between 1990 and 2011, the incidence of extreme poverty dropped from 12.2 to 4.6 percent, i.e. 25.5 million Latin Americans no longer live in this extreme condition. Two decades ago, poverty was defined in monetary terms, based on a consensus around the concept that income was an adequate measure to represent wellbeing. Today, it is more readily acknowledged … Read more