Friday, March 30, 2007

UN Gives Back to the Environment

The UN has long been active in confronting the challenges of climate change and promoting alternative energy. Now they will begin leading by example.

In the small country of Montenegro, the UN is constructing a "green" office. The plans will go along with the new One UN projects in 5 test countries of combining the efforts of the different UN agencies under one roof to be more effective.

The structure will be built off the banks of the River Moracia in the City of Podgorica and will be completely self sufficient using no outside energy sources to run. The roof is a single slab that is perforated with large openings for natural ventilation and lighting purposes. Photovoltaic cells floating above the roof slab act as a shading device while also providing enough energy to meet the building’s estimated annual energy demands. The ventilation system works on the displacement principal, using the heat generated in the interior to drive the movement of air. This is a wonderful example of the steps forward the UN is taking to be more effective and care the environment.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Goodwill Ambassador Tayo Tayo Rin Promotes the MDG's

Goodwill Ambassador Tayo Tayo Rin created a music video promoting the Millenium Development Goals. One of her tasks after becoming a Goodwill Ambassador is to promote the efforts of UNDP.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sharapova Named Newest Goodwill Ambassador

Tennis super star Maria Sharapova was recently named a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. Along with the announcement as Goodwill Ambassador, Maria donated $100,000 to support UNDP projects in areas affected by the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.

"My first step is to focus on the Chernobyl-affected region, where my family has roots,” said Sharapova.

The donation will go specifically to the eight youth related projects in the region. UNDP has been in Chernobyl for two decades trying to improve the way of life for thousands in the affected area. This is a long battle with many problems stemming from the nuclear accident which makes recovery for the area more difficult. The UN is committed to rehabilitation in Chernobyl and just recently put UNDP in charge of assisting the area.

UNDP is especially pleased that Ms. Sharapova is targeting a region that is often overlooked by donors,” concluded Melkert. “We know that community-recovery projects of the sort that she has targeted for her generous donation hold great promise.”

Read the whole article

Friday, March 23, 2007

UNDP Lights Up the Night In Nepal

A family finishes eating dinner together. After cleaning their plates, the children prepare to scurry off for fun before bedtime when Mom stops them in their tracks with "It's time to do your homework." While this scene is repeated every night across America, today it is happening in Nepal for the first time.

In the mountainous rural regions of Nepal, where 85% of the country's 28m people live, a lack of electricity meant the day ended when the sun set. The compressed day impacts all areas of life, but none more so than children's education.

Thanks to the UNDP Rural Energy Development Project 274 micro hydro-electric systems have been built around the country. These use rivers to - for the first time - provide clean, renewable hydro-power to 48,000 families! With the introduction of electricity into communities there has been an increase in schooling as well as the ability to obtain information with radio and television.

Learn more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

UNDP Investment in Haiti

With much hard effort and work by both the UNDP and the Haitian government the country has become a land of opportunity and success. Haiti just recently had its democratically elected government that has the trust of the people. This is a great start to building a successful nation, but the world must also build from this. The UNDP urged the UN to continue support for the ongoing project with the UNDP. The Canadian government has responded with $10 million in aid. This aid will go to UNDP's 2 primary goals in supporting the reforms of the police and the judicial system as well as curbing criminal activity in the urban and suburban areas of. This will also go the the rehabilitation of areas that have been heavily affected by gang violence. UNDP claims that unless the people and the government of Haiti receive renewed support from the international community then the affects of has been accomplished might be dampered

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Match Against Poverty

Yesterday, soccer players Ronaldo and Zidane hosted the 4th annual Match Against Poverty in Marseilles France. The friendly match brings together many of the world's top players to raise money and awareness for the Millennium Development Goals. Learn more about the Team to End Poverty.

Learn more about how that money has helped make a difference around the globe.

Japan gives Aid to Africa

Japan has entrusted the UNDP $7 million to assist in maintaining sustainable peace in African countries. The UNDP will continue to promote peace through conflict prevention and peace building in The Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone. Each of these regions are balancing a fragile peace which needs to be strengthened. One important project that UNDP is working on in these countries is to stop the trade of illicit small arms. This is a major problem in many African countries by having rebel groups or individuals purchasing small arms and creating conflict and instability in the area. In the case of Sierra Leone, much of the funds will be going toward equipment and training for a freely elected democratic government. Each initiative is very important to maintaining peace. The contributions from the government of Japan are part of their 2003 Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

Spreading Deomcracy in the Middle East

Promoting democracy and helping parliaments better represent their citizens is a key challenge in emerging democratic countries. Each year, UNDP spend nearly a quarter of its core resources promoting good government and helping elections. Check out this fun flash tool to learn more about just some of what UNDP is doing in the Arab States.

Friday, March 16, 2007

One UN - Pakistan

At the core of UN reform is the desire to help the organization work more effectively. In development, this means promoting greater coordination, cooperation, and efficiency between the many agencies that specialize in different parts of the human development puzzle. The "One UN" initiative is a collaborative effort combining all UN agencies in the country to work together under one country leader, with one country plan, and in one shared country office. Pakistan is the largest county with a pilot "One UN" office.

By having one central control with all UN agencies representing the Pakistani government and the UN can work more closely together to reach their goals. The funds from all UN agencies combined will equal around 300 million dollars to create sustainable development, with a focus on: Health, Education, Poverty Reduction, HIV & AIDS and Disaster Management.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Promoting Democratic Governments.

In America, after 200 years of democracy what it means to vote is well understood. But imagine living in a country that had never had an election before. The tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan is preparing to adopt its first Constitution in 2008.

To help educate citizens about voting UNDP is working with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB). Because it supports over 20 elections every year, UNDP is able to provide the Commission with the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to ensure everyone - men and women, young and old - participates in this historic moment and begins to build their own history of democracy.

Learn more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Training Iraq's Journalists

The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments
Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776)

Ensuring free speech and a free press is at the heart of building a peaceful democratic society. After 50 years of authoritarian rule, UNDP is working with Iraqi journalists to train the first generation of reporters and editors in the new Iraq.

In partnership with local writers, Iraqi ex-patriots returning home, and the Reuters Foundation, UNDP has developed a journalist handbook. This resource has since been used to offer 1 week trainings to dozens of new reporters across the country. Finally, because a free press requires somewhere to publish, UNDP created a web based news exchange online - This site offers a way that journalists and media organizations to pool their news, exchange stories and opinions, and keep up with what is happening in other cities and provinces. In it's first two months as watal published over 500 articles written by Iraqi's about Iraq.

Learn more about UNDP's work in Iraq and with journalists in Arab countries.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

UNICEF Teams up with Cricket World Cup to Fight AIDS

UNICEF and UNAIDS have partnered with International Cricket Council to raise awarness to the issues facing children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS. Crickets largest event of the year the ICC World Cup is taking place this week in Jamaica. Teams participating in the cup are going together to support the Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS campaign.

“AIDS is robbing tens of millions of children of childhood itself,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Jamaica, Bertrand Bainvel. ICC President Percy Sonn. “We hope the range of activities delivered at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will make a difference to raising awareness and reducing stigma around HIV in the Caribbean and across the ever-growing cricket world,”

Globally, 2.3 million children are living with HIV. In 2005, around 380,000 children died of AIDS and 540,000 children got newly infected. Over 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The UNITE FOR CHILDREN, UNITE AGAINST AIDS Campaign child-focused framework around the ‘Four Ps:’

  • Prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2010, offer appropriate services to 80 per cent of women in need

  • Provide pediatric treatment by 2010, provide either antiretroviral treatment or cotrimoxazole, or both, to 80 per cent of children in need

  • Prevent infection among adolescents and young peopleBy 2010, reduce the percentage of young people living with HIV by 25 per cent globally

  • Protect and support children affected by HIV/AIDS by 2010, reach 80 per cent of children most in need
The event is expected to draw over 10,000 spectators and over 2 billion viewers on TV fallowing the event. This is a great partnership that will raise awareness to groups of people who may not have been exposed to the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Sweet videos at

UNDP Announces Finalists for Equator Prize

A simple fact: the greatest concentrations of biological wealth are found in the world's tropical rain forests, yet these same places also have some of the highest levels of poverty. The good news is that communities are charting a path toward sustainability, creatively using biological resources for food, medicine, shelter and improved livelihoods in ways that raise incomes and protect the environment.

UNDP has announced the finalists for the 2006 Equator Prize. They include a womens association in Burkina Faso that produces organic shea butter - tripling incomes for 3,000 women and girls and helping plant 20,000 new trees, a Filipino organization that has helped promote conservation and restored 117 acres of wetlands, and a partnership between 14 indigenous communities in Peru that is working to prevent illegal logging and hunting in 150,000 acres of rain forest. Check out the full list.

In 2002 UNDP launched the Equator Initiative. This innovative program champions and supports community efforts to link economic development and income generation with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It includes:

  • Equator Ventures - a venture fund that invests in local small businesses
  • Equator Dialogues - a platform for local voices that celebrates the success of community action in achieving the MDGs
  • Equator Knowledge - which helps academics, ngos, and communities share knowledge about environmenta; sustainability and fighting poverty
  • Equator Prize - a biennial award to recognize outstanding communities from developing countries in the tropics that demonstrate in practical terms how efforts to conserve biodiversity can also reduce poverty

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The UN calls for an end to trafficking.

"We celebrate the fact that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Yet, around the world, millions of people are still deprived of their freedom."

-Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro

From Himalayan villages to Eastern European cities, people - especially women and girls - are attracted by the prospect of a well-paid job as a domestic servant, waitress or factory worker. Traffickers recruit victims through fake advertisements, mail-order bride catalogs and casual acquaintances.

Trafficking in human beings is a global phenomenon. Upon arrival at their destination, victims are placed in conditions controlled by traffickers while they are exploited to earn illicit revenues. Many are physically confined, their travel or identity documents are taken away and they or their families are threatened if they do not cooperate. Women and girls forced to work as prostitutes are blackmailed by the threat that traffickers will tell their families. Trafficked children are dependent on their traffickers for food, shelter and other basic necessities. Traffickers also play on victims' fears that authorities in a foreign country will prosecute or deport them if they ask for help.

To help countries combat this problem, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) coordinates global efforts. To learn more, watch the video below or go here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

UNDP helping enhance fish production in Lagos

In countries with growing populations it is important to ensure farmers and fishermen will be able to keep up with the growing demand. In Nigeria, the UN Development Program is helping local fishermen better manage and grow their stocks to make sure they can meet their country's needs today and tomorrow.

To learn more about UNDP's work in Nigeria, click here.