Our Perspective

      • A new environment for adapting to climate change

        03 Jun 2011

        A local farmer harvests sorghum in the Sudan
        A local farmer harvests sorghum in the Sudan. Photo: UN Photo/Fred Noy

        Climate change disproportionately affects the most vulnerable communities in the world. The impacts of extreme weather events and natural disasters hurt poor countries the most where lack of resources and weaker infrastructures leave people less equipped to respond and protect themselves. Read UNDP Chief Helen Clark's remarks on adaptation at the United Nations 2010 Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Even gradual changes can be a huge additional burden on these countries, increasing the difficulties people face to simply secure food, water and a basic livelihood. Niger is one such country struggling to adapt to climate change. With 80 percent  of its territory covered by the Sahara desert and the semi-arid Sahel zone, Niger has been hard hit by frequent droughts with a dry season that lasts for 9 months of the year, putting rural livelihoods at severe risk.  Three years ago UNDP began supporting Niger, along with 19 other African countries, to develop strategies to help prevent some of the worst impacts of a changing climate. The US$92.1 million Africa Adaptation Programme, funded by the Government of Japan, aims to support countries like Niger create a stronger environment to prepare for, and adapt to, climate change. By sharing knowledge and identifyingRead More

      • Pulling Latin America out of the “inequality trap”

        25 May 2011

        image
        Urban Housing in Mexico. Photo: UNHabitat

        When we talk about development in Latin America, there are many reasons to be positive.  While the global recession left many developing countries with greater challenges in striving to reach the MDGs, Latin American and Caribbean economies have recovered more rapidly than expected reflecting the region’s economic resilience. On a different front, the region leads the world in social programmes that give financial aid to people in poverty on condition for maintaining children in school and keeping up with vaccines and medical checkups, a huge boost to reduce poverty in 18 countries in the region.  In spite of strong economic growth and advances in tackling poverty, high and persistent levels of inequality continue to be a great challenge. While the region is not the poorest in the world, it is the most unequal, as measured by the Gini coefficient. "Ten of the fifteen most unequal countries in the world are in Latin America", said Head of UNDP, Helen Clark at the Fourth Latin America Ministerial Forum on Development. "Our priority must be to take the fight against poverty even further and make inroads into reducing inequality". While economic growth is important for long-term development progress, it does not automatically translate intoRead More