Our Perspective

      • 2015 Winners of UN Climate Solutions Awards Announced

        02 Nov 2015

        Projects From Across the Globe to be Honoured at UN Climate Conference in Paris

        Sixteen game-changing initiatives from around the world were announced today as winners of a prestigious United Nations climate change award. Winning activities include a seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first and an initiative that is enabling 40 Latin American cities to take concrete climate action. Others include a women-led initiative in Benin that uses solar energy to empower women farmers and an internal carbon fee that holds the business units of one of the world’s most famous software and ICT companies financially responsible for reducing their carbon emissions. The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. Today’s announcement is part of wider efforts to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work toward adopting a new universal climate agreement in Paris. “With less than 35 days to go until the climate change conference in Paris, the Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities are further compelling proof that climate action is building worldwide and in countries, communities, companies and cities everywhere,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said. “By showcasing these remarkable solutions and the people behind them we can strengthen efforts toward that new agreement, accelerate  Read More

      • 10 ways youth can make an impact

        12 Aug 2015

        A group of Cambodian youth act in UNDP Cambodia's Loy9 TV dramas that were aimed at empowering youths to be active in civic participation. The initiative was funded by UNDP Cambodia and Sweden in Cambodia, and produced by BBC Media Action (Photo: BBC Media Action)

        “We are addressing youth today, because youth have placed themselves on the top of the agenda.”–Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard. Here’s a list of ideas of how you can participate locally and globally: 1. Know your rights: You might not be able to vote yet, but all children and youth hold national and international rights. These rights are only of use to you if you are informed about them, so read up! 2. Learn about local issues: Is a roadblock affecting your commute to school? Are the new taxes affecting your family’s livelihood? Whatever the case, learning the issue will help in creating solutions that will have an impact on you. 3. Speak out: Speaking your mind online (through social media), and/or offline (at local meetings and gatherings) helps you assert yourself and your interests. Also, you never know who might be listening. Think before posting. Social media has a long memory and things can never truly be  Read More

      • Financing for development in Asia and the Pacific

        09 Jul 2015

        Construction workers are building an apartment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo: © Chansok Lay/UNDP Cambodia.

        The world eagerly awaits the outcome of the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development this month which will be a real test of the international community’s commitment to sustainable development. In this context, it is worth underscoring that the Asia-Pacific region – a dynamic and vibrant market - has already been at the forefront of deliberations on financing for development and has endorsed initiatives that will unleash its resource potential.  With substantial scope for tapping domestic resource mobilization and infrastructure financing, the region will build on the development achievements secured in past years which have simultaneously driven global growth. Our region has made impressive gains in reducing the incidence of extreme poverty from a staggering 53 percent in 1990 to 12 percent today, illustrating its resilience to the  2008 financial crisis given that most countries strengthened their financial systems regulatory frameworks in the aftermath of Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998. Trade growth has remained steady, with the level of intra-regional trade second only to that of the European Union. The key to financial stability and people’s well-being will be their improved access to financing for development, which involves broadening coverage of financing to all segments of society, including the unbanked  Read More

      • Cambodia needs to capitalize on demographic dividend

        01 Jul 2015

        Ms. Vin Rattana, middle, supervises her colleagues at a car garage she manages in Siem Reap province. More skilled workers are needed for the country to grow faster and to compete with other nations, especially when ASEAN economic integration is coming soon.

        But, what is demographic dividend? A demographic dividend or bonus is a condition where greater proportion of the population is in the working-age against a diminishing total dependency ratio. It is a potential opportunity for countries to accelerate their economic growth through investment in education, health and economic opportunities as more and more resources are now freed due to lower dependency ration. How does it happen? Demographic window of opportunity begins with declining fertility and mortality rates. Eventually, population age structure changes, that brings more people into the working-age than the dependents. Then, the demographic dividend is opened up. In other words, more net producers than net consumers are in an economy freeing more resources for investment in education, health, and other wellbeing.  What are the benefits of demographic dividend? When birth rates decline, families start having fewer dependent children. This increase in the ratio of the working age population relative to the dependent population (child and elderly) can give the country an impetus for accelerated economic growth. With more people working, they produce more as a country. With more workers who now invest more in their children’s health and education without necessarily increasing family budgets – as they have fewer  Read More

      • Bringing about the 'Good Change' (together)

        04 Mar 2015

        A woman washes clothes outside her flooded house. Heavy rains in 2013 resulted in floods in 20 provinces throughout the north-west and along the Mekong River in central and southern Cambodia, killing 188 people and affecting more than 1.7 million. Photo: Thomas Cristofoletti/Ruom for UNDP

        In the last decade, Cambodia has halved its poverty rate and improved the living conditions of its population. Yet because of extreme climate events that regularly descend on the country, Cambodia remains one of the most disaster-vulnerable countries in Southeast Asia. In 2013 alone, losses caused by floods added up to USD $356 million.   Disasters are tragic because of the consequences on human life and well-being, but they also present an opportunity to promote what UNDP now calls “risk-informed development.” Various actors and communities can—and should—work more closely together to create effective, multi-disciplinary approaches to respond to disasters and promote disaster risk reduction.     Take the 2013 floods as an example. A combination of heavy rains and the swelling of the Mekong River caused widespread damage to infrastructure and crops. 168 people died, most of them children, and 20 provinces were devastated, with thousands of hectares of rice destroyed and hundreds of kilometers of rural roads badly damaged.   Following the floods, the Cambodian government requested that UNDP work with various partners to carry out a Post Flood Early Recover Needs Assessment. Drawing on the expertise of UNDP’s country office, as well as the skills and knowledge of government  Read More

      • Lessons from the Past Help to Prepare for the Future

        17 Dec 2014

        We have seen that involving communities in the recovery process brings special commitment and speeds up recovery. UNDP Photo

        In China there is an old proverb that goes: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” As we look at how things have changed since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami we can see how UNDP has worked with partners to help communities recover in the aftermath of disasters, and following through to educate people across the spectrum, to ensure that fewer lives are lost when disaster strikes. For years, we have been working to support governments in reducing risks from disaster, in helping communities build resilience, and in assisting to set up early warning systems. Recently, we supported the initiative of the government of the Philippines in creating the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery following Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). We helped set up its offices, provided equipment, and assisted with drafting the post-Haiyan "Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan" based on a bottom up needs assessment and under strong government leadership. Helping countries better deal with disasters has long been part of our mandate. But that objective took on new urgency following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Since then  Read More

      • Do-it-yourself Sustainable Development: The SDGs go DIY

        25 Sep 2014


        With the proposal for Sustainable Development Goals now available for all members of the General Assembly to consider further, the question on many of our minds is:  where to next?  Once global sustainable development goals are adopted next year, how can we best help governments, citizens, and the private sector take them from aspiration to reality? So far almost 5 million people in almost 100 countries have either voted on their priorities for a new development agenda through the MY World survey or engaged in face-to-face discussions on what is needed to improve their future. As part of our broader work supporting innovation for development (I4D), we are looking for new ways of inspiring action on these priorities. So far, some interesting approaches have emerged: Micro-narratives and qualitative research to learn more about complex issues    The World we Want consultations asked what people need for their future, engaging people who are not usually part of policy debates. For example, people living with disabilities in Belarus and youth at risk in Kyrgyzstan shared their experience through micro-narratives. This data was then used to advocate for policies better suited to meet their needs. In El Salvador the consultations provided data used to advocate for a multi-sector citizen security strategy.  Platforms for encouraging civic  Read More

      • Cambodia turns climate change crisis into opportunity

        22 Sep 2014


        Cambodia is ranked among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change. This is not only due to climate risks, but also to lack of capacity to adapt and respond.  Eighty percent of the population lives in rural areas with limited knowledge, infrastructure and opportunities; and more than 70 percent rely on agriculture that is heavily sensitive to climate change, putting the country’s economic and social development at risk. Cambodia’s efforts to fight climate change began in 1995 when the country ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and later acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. In 2006, the Cambodia national adaptation programme of action to climate change (NAPA) was developed. In late 2013, the country launched its first-ever comprehensive Climate Change Strategic Plan, recognizing climate change as a challenge to development requiring urgent and joint attention. This is the highest political commitment in combating climate change in Cambodia. Now the crucial question is “What’s next?” – How will the strategic plan be effectively implemented in order to achieve its vision and strategic goals? We, at UNDP, have been providing technical and financial support to the Government to develop climate change policies and plans. One of our most successful programme is  Read More

      • Women are still being forcibly or coercively sterilized, it's time to end the practice

        08 Sep 2014


        Though voluntary sterilization is considered an important form of pregnancy prevention in many parts of the world, force or coercion should never be part of the equation. However, there continue to be cases of women, people living with HIV, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, or transgender and intersex persons who are sterilized without their full, free and informed consent. Our report, “Protecting the right of key HIV-affected women and girls in healthcare settings” highlights the persistence of this practice amongst women and girls living with HIV, along with a range of other serious forms of abuse.  These practices are not only discriminatory, they are also violations of fundamental human rights. As reported in 2012 by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, coercive and discriminatory practices in health care settings are rife, including forced HIV testing, breaches of confidentiality and the denial of health care services, as well as forced sterilizations and abortions. Voluntary sterilization is dependent upon a legal environment and social and health programmes, policies and practices that guarantee the rights of all individuals to free, full and informed consent. To this end, countries must prohibit the practice of forced abortion and coerced sterilization of women and  Read More

      • One number that tells a much bigger story in the Pacific

        02 Sep 2014


        Small islands face big challenges. This week’s Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Conference in Samoa probes some of the most pressing ones. How do we protect our ocean resources for future generations? How do we prepare for the destructive forces of climate change on fragile islands? How can countries find the human and financial resources to sustain productive businesses, homes, schools and health services? How can countries stem rising youth unemployment? The list is as long as the oceans are wide. There is one important, often overlooked development indicator that lurks behind these larger issues and is a pre-condition for development progress in all countries. This worrisome indicator which is under discussion this week is mentioned in a new United Nations report, The State of Human Development in the Pacific: a Report on Vulnerability and Exclusion in a Time of Rapid Change. The report is being launched days ahead of the SIDS Conference in Samoa. What is it? Life expectancy. It provides a simple measure of the overall health status of a population. And the picture in the Pacific is not good. An average person in New Zealand or Australia can expect to live about 10 years longer than a person in Vanuatu and  Read More