Eradicating poverty: thinking beyond income

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

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

Bhutan continues to face the risk of glacial lake flooding

19 Sep 2014 by Yusuke Taishi

rescue workersThere are more than 20 glacial lakes in Bhutan alone that are considered at risk of outburst, and many more in other nations of the Himalayas. UNDP Photo
he peace of mind that the project brought to the people living in the valleys below the glacier is immeasurable, but for how much longer? There are more than 20 glacial lakes in Bhutan alone that are considered at risk of outburst, and many more in other nations of the Himalayas. … Read more

Tackling illegal money flows in Asia could bring schools, hospitals and bridges to the poorest

11 Sep 2014 by Elodie Beth

Corruption Complaint BoxGlobally, illicit financial flows drained roughly US$950b from the developing world in 2011 according to Global Financial Integrity. Photo: “Corruption Box,” available under a Creative Commons 2.0 license, © Michael Goodine
Illicit financial flows (cross-border flows of money that are illegally earned, transferred or utilised) are depriving the poorest economies in the region from vital funds for development. And the consequences of these flows on the sustainability of some of the region’s strongest economies are still largely underestimated. … Read more

How Malaysians could literally be 'driving' the Malayan tiger back from near-extinction

05 Sep 2014 by Hari Ramalu Ragavan

Tiger plateThe challenge was to find ways to involve Malaysian citizens in conservation efforts so that it wasn’t just about donating money or paying a green tax. UNDP Photo.
It’s called ‘the spine.’   It’s the ‘The Central Forest Spine’ in all the official paperwork of course. An appropriate mouthful for a formidable five million hectares of wildlife sanctuary that is essentially the green lung and water tower of Peninsular Malaysia. It harbours an incredible array of plant and animal species including the endangered Malayan tiger, (perhaps less than 500 left alive today) largely limited to this sanctuary. The ‘Spine’ is also the source of essential water for over 28 million people including the inhabitants of Singapore. Recognising that the country’s breakneck economic growth was coming at the terrible cost of the long-term viability of the country’s wild spaces and eco-systems, the Malaysian government decided to set up a National Conservation Trust Fund to look for ways to straddle growth with conservation. A powerful idea emerged. A new conservation masterplan would connect patches of fragmented forest across the country into one sustainable whole. Here at UNDP, we’ve been supporting the government to operationalise the masterplan that looks as far into the future as two decades.    The challenge, of course, has been to find ways to finance these efforts. The more we thought about it, the more conviction we found … Read more

Should megacities be shifting their focus to moving people instead of traffic?

01 Sep 2014 by Matthew Viccars

Dhaka intersectionDhaka’s transport system is hurtling towards ever worsening gridlock and the estimated 3.8 Billion USD economic losses are no doubt rising. Photo: Adam Cohn Licensed under CC4.0.
Before we can even dream of reorienting the transport policy to one that focusses on moving people instead of moving vehicles we need to reach a tipping point where enough people have access to public transport that is acceptable to them. Because if anything more than a small percentage of people consider public transport unacceptable such change will not be achievable. … Read more