Our Perspective

The poor by any other name

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Making invisible urban poverty visible will be the first step to tackling it, to building more inclusive, sustainable societies. Photo: Christine Zenino [CC BY 2.0]

What urban poverty studies in Viet Nam might tell us about the changing face of Asian poverty... Read more

Pursuing a new development model to tackle some of the world's toughest challenges

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Kazakhstan’s gradual but significant shift toward renewable energy parallels a transformation in the development relationship between its government and the UNDP.

As economies boom in developing countries across the world, and as many of these countries graduate to middle-income country status, the landscape of development is being fundamentally reshaped. We are now witnessing a range of more nuanced and complex development situations, which call for a new approach to meeting some of the world’s toughest development challenges.... Read more

Standing up, being counted in Ireland

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On May 24th Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. Photo: Jensen Byrne

Watching people dissect your value and equality as a human being, your capacity to love and the depth of your romantic relationships takes a psychological and emotional toll. For me and my friends this was the first time in our lives that LGBTI identities were so thoroughly discussed in public.... Read more

Why rice farmers are key to tackling climate change in the Philippines

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In the Philippines, rice is the most important crop and its agriculture represents 11% of the growing GDP of the country.

When I began supporting the Philippines Programme for rice cultivation, I saw it through the lens of climate change mitigation. The logic was, if we made some necessary improvements to cultivation methods, we could reduce greenhouse gas emission (GHG) and help mitigate climate change. This is especially important in a country where 29 percent of the GHGs come from rice cultivation. However, I quickly learned that although you might be driven and committed to work towards reducing global warming, it does not necessarily lead to the critical buy-in of stakeholders like the Department of Agriculture, the National Irrigation Administration, and farmers. Our Adaptation and Mitigation programme aimed to improve local cultivation techniques in order to lower GHGs. Irrigation techniques like the applied Alternative Wetting and Drying, allow for modification of water management for shorter periods of rice flooding and a reduction of methane emissions. The first phase of the program involves building capacity for these improved techniques and supporting farmers in diversifying their income sources through the production of mushrooms, vegetables or other crops. It was estimated that this would help the Philippines reduce GHGs by 36,455,063 tons of carbon dioxide. The programme would eventually be extended to the entire country... Read more

If the oceans were a country…

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If the oceans were a country it would have the seventh largest economy in the world – larger than Brazil’s or Russia’s. UNDP Photo

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care. We are being encouraged to dream of a better world and to make pledges to fulfill that dream. I like this. As a person who grew up on the coast of South Africa, I have a big dream: a healthy ocean that supports lives on Planet Earth. Why choose the ocean from among the myriad of environmental issues that plague us, you might ask? Because the ocean is the basic building block that makes all life on Earth possible. All life, the human race included, depends on healthy oceans. As the legendary marine biologist Sylvia Earle once remarked: ‘With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” The ocean environment is unquestionably linked to human life. The World Wildlife Fund recently estimated that the total asset base of the ocean is valued at US$ 24 trillion, and the annual gross marine product (GMP) is at least US$ 2.5 trillion. To make that real, imagine that we gave every person alive in the world today US$350 every year; we’d still have... Read more

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