Why there should have been cake at this year’s UN High Level Political Forum

20 Jul 2017 by Hannie Meesters, Policy Specialist at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

I was pregnant with my first child at the time it was created. Maybe that is why it still feels a little like “my baby”. And why I am so excited to see it grow and become a forum that attracts so much attention on its fifth birthday. I’m talking about the High Level Political Forum, which just finished in New York this week. A Forum with an ambitious title that is the main global gathering on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But one that is starting to live up to its name. 44 countries volunteered to present at the Forum on how they are doing in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development this year. That’s double the number from last year. And between them you will find some very strong reports. Countries that are not only showcasing their achievement but that also talk about their lessons and areas for improvement. The energy at the Forum is very encouraging. Because this Forum has so much riding on it. It is the main global body for accountability for the 2030 Agenda. Here, governments are held to account for what they have done to eradicate poverty and reduce … Read more

Why Women Work

12 Jul 2017 by Koh Miyaoi, Gender Advisor, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

  “Because I get money that I can decide how to spend.” A young school teacher in Chitwan District in Nepal was chatting to me about some of the reasons she’s participating in UNDP-supported trainings for micro-entrepreneurs. She said she was making a profit, but she didn’t have anything particular in mind to buy with that money. She’d invest her profits in expanding her business, she said. For her, the fact that she didn’t have to consult anyone how to spend the money she earned was a good enough reason to continue this initiative. Work isn’t just about earning money. Work is about gaining self-confidence, gaining respect and recognition, and having a role in public life. That sense of empowerment a woman can experience from having her ‘own money’ resonated with me. I’ve heard it from so many women, including my own mother. My mother started working again after she gave birth to two children, because she wanted to be able to make and act on her own choices. She did not see why she should have to consult her husband every time she needed money. Regardless of how a family handles its finances, in the modern world, not having one’s own income makes … Read more

Motherhood Has No Gender

05 Jul 2017 by Zainab Patel

People do not need to be legally or genetically connected to become a family. Love can never be categorised or legislated. Last April, a friend sent me a link to a video advertisement on YouTube, warning me to be "ready with your handkerchief". While I watched, the images on the ad hit me like a bus. They brought forth a flood of emotions and memories from my years growing up as a transgender woman in Mumbai, India. If you haven't yet seen this video, you should—it's an emotional and overpowering 3 minutes! … Read more

Two Years on, Reflections on the Nepal Earthquake and the Humanitarian Response

07 Jun 2017 by Renaud Meyer, Country Director, UNDP Nepal

More than two years have passed since that day, but Nepal’s story will be in focus as world leaders and experts meet for the World Reconstruction Conference (WRC) in Brussels, this week. The aim of the conference is to explore how communities can recover faster from natural disasters and how they can build back better, so they are more resilient to such disasters. … Read more

In Northern Pakistan, the Provincial Assembly is Championing Better Monitoring of Climate Finance

11 May 2017 by Sujala Pant

The Khyber Pass may elicit images of remote beauty to many of us. I have been lucky to make a couple of visits to Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP), one of the provinces that the Pass cuts through. This beautiful part of Pakistan, like the rest of the country, is susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change, but luckily, the elected representatives in KP are taking things in their own hands. Last  month in Islamabad, we had a vibrant interaction with a number of   members of the Khyber Pakhutunkhwa (KP) Provincial Assembly in Pakistan, a selection of cross-party representatives who make up the newly established Working Group on Climate Change Finance. I was there as part of UNDP’s efforts to increase the engagement of KP Assembly Members on the issue of climate change finance. I was hoping that there would be enough interest to kick start and grow from this initial interaction, but I need not have worried. Once the discussion began – ideas and questions started to fly: ‘How can we better address climate change through our assembly?’ “How can we ensure other members of our Assembly have the right information on climate action?” “What about public … Read more