Nature? Who cares?

16 Nov 2014 by Jamison Ervin

 At the top of Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa, there is one of the most remarkable flowers you’ll ever see. Jamison Ervin / UNDP
We cut down the mangroves that provide habitat for the fish that feed our families, in order to make way for a resort hotel. Or we drain the wetland that protects our cities from floods, in order to put up a shopping mall. And we accept this as the cost of development. … Read more

Growth at the cost of life’s diversity? That’s bad economics.

13 Nov 2014 by Midori Paxton

If economic growth is achieved at the expense of the natural capital of a country, that is not development. Photo: UNDP India
If economic growth makes people suffer (and consequently be worse off), sanity decrees that it is not development. It is for sure not sustainable, inclusive and equitable development. … Read more

The Sydney World Parks Congress Shapes the Future We Need

12 Nov 2014 by Nik Sekhran

 Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (SNNR), in Qinghai Province, China, holds the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong Rivers and tributaries that supply water to billions of people downstream. Marc Foggin
Solutions to problems is exactly what UNDP is bringing to the World Parks Congress. … Read more

In an Indian ashram, its solar power that nourishes the spiritual

10 Nov 2014 by Butchiah Gadde

Ashram food hallThe ashram's kitchen serves free meals to more than 35,000 devotees daily. UNDP Photo
It was a hot summer day in Shirdi in the Indian state of Maharashtra. A wind blew in from the arid plains, covering its tracks with a patina of dust. Thousands of devotees at the Sai Baba temple had lined up for a ritual meal offered at the Prasadalaya (a free eatery run by the trust), which feeds more than 35,000 visitors daily. This ashram – a cornerstone of tradition and spiritual faith for many – has undergone a sea change in it’s reliance on fossil fuels. As we walked through the clatter of aluminium plates in the food hall, Amrut G. Jagtap, an engineer at the Prasadalaya explained that meals for about 17,000 devotees are now cooked using thermal energy from solar technology installed on the roof of the building.

 In a country of 1.2 billion people, where fossil fuels are in high demand for their use as cooking fuel, the climate could well allow a significant reduction in energy use (and family expenses) if reliance on alternative energy could find a foothold. If  solar technology can be harnessed at an industrial scale, however, it can partially meet energy needs and reduce the demand for costly fossil fuels, such as … Read more

Truth-by-phone: How PNG is pitting the humble mobile phone against massive corruption

23 Oct 2014 by Tito Balboa

Papua New Guinea stands at one of the most decisive junctures in its development. With predicted record levels of economic growth of 20% for 2015, the country has a unique opportunity to leverage significant sustainable and equitable improvements of Human Development of the more than 7 million Papua New Guineans. However, if poor choices are made, the impact of the high growth rates will be limited, even detrimental to the development prospects of the nation. This ‘paradox of plenty’ occurred when a 20% growth rate in the early 1990s was followed by a ‘lost decade’ for the majority of the population. Despite the Government of PNG’s increased budget allocations to provincial, district and local level governments by 87% over the last two years, low implementation capacity at sub-national level has prevented the high volume of resources to translate effectively into improvements in the lives of the population. One reason for this inefficiency is corruption.  
 In 2013, government task force estimated that almost 40% of PNG’s annual budget (approx. USD 6.5 billion) was lost to corruption and mismanagement, a worrying number that seems to be confirmed by Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perception Index, and the World Bank’s Global Governance Corruption Index. … Read more