Our Perspective

      • Sustainable energy access critical for development in Africa | Helen Clark

        29 Dec 2011

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        Access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries is essential for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals. Photo: UN Foundation

        Almost 45 per cent of those who lack access to energy live in Sub-Saharan Africa, making up 69 per cent of the region’s population. They number 585 million people. Seventy eight per cent of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa use traditional biomass for cooking and heating (650 million). Energy needs extend well beyond having electricity available in homes. In Africa, where so many depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood, expanding access to energy for irrigation, food production, and processing is vital. It can boost agricultural productivity and rural incomes, and empower women who make up a significant proportion of the continent’s farmers. For UNDP, access to sustainable energy is critical for making societies more equitable and inclusive, and for encouraging green growth and sustainable development overall. We advocate for equity, inclusiveness, resilience, and sustainability to be the guiding principles for efforts to achieve universal energy access.  We recognize that different groups have different energy needs. Therefore, governments need to balance the financing of large-scale energy projects with support for the off-grid, decentralized energy solutions which will help meet the needs of the poorest and most marginalised people. Cleaner cooking and heating fuels and motor power for productive activities are alsoRead More

      • Turning the challenges of sustainable development into opportunity | Tegegnework Gettu

        01 Dec 2011

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        Building green economies in Africa must be reconciled with reducing poverty, creating employment and boosting human development (Photo: UNDP Eritrea)

        The Rio declaration stated that: “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.” And that: “The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.” This message from Rio – that people are at the center of sustainable development – echoes UNDP’s focus on advancing human development. Making human development sustainable is critical for people everywhere. But, as the documents prepared for this preparatory conference show, there are compelling reasons for why this agenda is particularly important for Africa. Despite the marked improvements in economic growth rates over the last decade, our continent still has the highest proportion of people living in poverty and hunger. The overall conclusion from the 2011 regional MDG report prepared jointly by the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and UNDP, was that the overall pace of progress towards the MDGs, while picking up steam in the last decade, has not been strong enough to meet the all the targets everywhere by 2015. But the report also shows that real progress has taken place and that many countries are making strides in advancing human development. ThisRead More

      • Cote d’Ivoire: Working towards recovery

        28 Sep 2011

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        Internally Displaced Persons in Côte d'Ivoire. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

        Since re-opening the UNDP office in Côte d’Ivoire some four months ago, we have been working together with NGOs along the western border with Liberia, assisting recently-returned internally displaced people who had moved following a political crisis triggered by the disputed December 2010 election. More than 20,000 people now have better access to water through rehabilitated water pumps and water treatment of 100 wells. Almost 5,000 youth are engaged in some UNDP-supported income-generating activity related to agricultural processing, small trading initiatives, among others. In addition to reintegrating hundreds of thousands of displaced people, Ivoirians face other urgent challenges, including rebuilding trust among the population, and restoring security and rule of law. The economy, historically one of West Africa’s strongest, was also disrupted. The government, the UN and other local partners cannot do it alone, and the gaps are huge. As of 22 September, the Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan for Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries affected by the crisis is funded at 28 per cent with some US$81 million contributed against a total requirement of US$ 291 million. Going forward UNDP’s main focus will be to support the government to restore security and institutions of governance, and find ways to generate jobsRead More